Tag Archives: July 4th

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Happy 243rd, America!

Happy Birthday, America!

4th of july

(Photo/Matthew Levine)

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

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What So Proudly We Hail…

Happy 4th of July

The Land Of The Free…

It’s our biggest party of the year: the fireworks.

But there’s so much more to Westport’s Greatest Day of the Year than that. Here’s how we kicked off the 4th of July weekend:

This is one very patriotic dog. (Photo/David Squires)

This is one very patriotic dog. (Photo/David Squires)

It's a fireworks tradition: reserve your spots early!

It’s a fireworks tradition: reserve your spots early!

Andrew Colabella and Shelley Welch make a patriotic pair.

Andrew Colabella and Shelley Welch make a patriotic pair.

These guys -- Sm Seideman, Graham Day, Lorenzo Rinaldi, Chris Chamberlin and Kyle Chamberlin -- set up a stand on Soundview Drive. They sold food, drinks, necklaces and more -- and ran a raffle. Part of the proceeds went to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. That's the American spirit!

These guys — Sam Seideman, Graham Day, Lorenzo Rinaldi, Chris Chamberlin and Kyle Chamberlin — set up a stand on Soundview Drive. They sold food, drinks, necklaces and more — and ran a raffle. Part of the proceeds went to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. That’s the American spirit!

A drum and dance corps from White Plains rehearsed in the parking lot. After donning their uniforms, they wowed the crowd.

A drum and dance corps from White Plains rehearsed in the parking lot. After donning their uniforms, they wowed the crowd.

"06880" readers know Betsy P. Kahn for her great photos. Here she is with her husband Dan -- in front of the house she photographed for "06880" yesterday.

“06880” readers know Betsy P. Kahn for her great photos. Here she is with her husband Dan — in front of the Soundview Drive house she photographed for “06880” yesterday.

Connie Anstett is 93 years old. She remembers when the fireworks were shot off by the cannons -- and kids watched from the tops of their parents' station wagons.

Connie Anstett is 93 years old. She remembers when the fireworks were shot off by the cannons — and kids watched from the tops of their parents’ station wagons.

Police patrolled on foot, motorcycles -- and bikes. Ned Batlin was stopped everywhere by students, who know him from DARE programs and coaching.

Police patrolled on foot, motorcycles — and bikes. Ned Batlin was stopped everywhere by students, who know him from DARE programs and coaching.

Music Theater of Connecticut's Glee group performed, to the delight of a large crowd near the pavilion.

Music Theater of Connecticut’s Glee group performed, to the delight of a large crowd near the pavilion.

Daisy Mae offered glitter tattoos and metallic drawing. For some reason, red, white and blue were popular colors. (Photo/Audrey Hertzel)

Daisy Mae offered glitter tattoos and metallic jewelry. For some reason, red, white and blue were popular colors. (Photo/Audrey Hertzel)

This was one of the biggest crowds ever -- perhaps 15,000.

This was one of the biggest crowds ever — perhaps 15,000. Not a lot of room to move, but no one cared.

Hooray for the red, white and blue!

Hooray for the red, white and blue!

Bipartisanship: Democratic Board of Education member Elaine Whitney and Republican Planning & Zoning Commissioner Al Gratrix. (Photo/Martin Gitlin)

Bipartisanship: Democratic Board of Education member Elaine Whitney and Republican Planning & Zoning Commissioner Al Gratrix. (Photo/Martin Gitlin)

And the obligatory fireworks shot! (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

And the obligatory fireworks shot! (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

Showing Our True Colors

It’s a beautiful morning — and the forecast is for great weather most of today.

Westport is awash in red, white and blue — in many shapes and forms.

Bob Weingarten hung this replica flag over the barn door of his house:

July 4 - Bob Weingarten house

Look closely. There are 15 stars and 15 stripes — not 13.

This American flag was used from 1795 to 1818. It was created when 2 new states — Kentucky and Vermont —  joined the union.

It’s called the “Star Spangled Banner Flag” because — after being raised above Fort McHenry to celebrate a crucial victory over the British during the War of 1812 — Francis Scott Key was inspired to write our national anthem.

When 5 more states were added to the union, they got stars too. But we went back to 13 stripes, for the original colonies. Today of course our flag has 50 stars, and 13 stripes.

Bob flies the flag over his barn doors because it was originally built in 1805 as a “chaise house.” That meant it housed a chaise — an 1800 coach with a driver and seats. Back in the day, that was a luxury item.

Nearly a century later — in 1900 — this home was built on Soundview Drive:

(Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

(Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

It’s one of the last original beach cottages — and is still in the same family.

Decked out in bunting, it looks beautiful and serene. Tonight thousands of folks will stream by, on their way to the fireworks.

It will be a beautiful night, too!

The Year The July 4th Fireworks Turned Real

The death of Andrew Chapo earlier this month brought back memories of the most tragic July 4th in Westport’s history.

Around 2 a.m. that morning in 1961 Brendan McLaughlin — a former Marine working as a New York advertising executive — shot and killed his father during a family argument.

blog - Westport PoliceThe murder took place in the McLaughlins’ old Victorian house on Gorham Island — the site today of a 40,000-square foot office building.

McLaughlin fled.  An hour before dawn he burst into the police station on Jesup Road.  He pulled out a semi-automatic pistol and fired at 2 policemen behind the front desk, wounding Donald Bennette.

Officers chased him into the parking lot, where he shot Chapo.  A shootout ensued; McLaughlin was wounded.

Chapo and Bennette recovered.  McLaughlin died several weeks later.

The police station lobby was renovated in 1988.  Mindful of the July 4th tragedy, greater security measures were installed.

Chapo achieved the rank of lieutenant.  While on the force, he helped gain improved pension benefits for police officers.

A memorial service for Chapo is set for July 10 (United Methodist Church, 2 p.m.) — almost 48 years to the day after his awful Independence Day.

(Thanks to Woody Klein’s Westport, Connecticut history for some of the information in this post.)