Tag Archives: Westport Memorial Day parade

Memorial Day Parade Canceled; Ceremony Set For Town Hall, 10 am

For the 2nd year in a row, bad weather has forced the cancellation of Westport’s Memorial Day parade.

A ceremony — including a speech by grand marshal and World War II veteran Ed Vebell — is set for 10 a.m., in the Town Hall auditorium.

See you there!

Watch The Parade — Then Send Us Your Photos!

The Memorial Day parade is one of Westport’s favorite town events.

Everyone has a favorite spot to watch from. Everyone has a favorite band, float or marcher to photograph.

But why share them only with a few hundred dear pals, casual acquaintances and random how’d-they-get-on-my-list Facebook “friends”?

Tomorrow — weather permitting — let all of Westport see “your” Memorial Day parade. Send a few (not all!) of your photos to “06880” (email: dwoog@optonline.net). Deadline: 1 p.m. Please include brief identification, if needed, and of course your own name.

I’ll post some (not all!) in the afternoon.

And be creative! We want special photos, for our special parade.

Westport celebrates Memorial Day in many ways. Here's a simple shot from the parade route.

Westport celebrates Memorial Day in many ways. Here’s a simple shot from the parade route.

Y’s Men Wisely Saved Last Year’s Float

It’s a Westport tradition: Every year, the Y’s Men win Westport’s Memorial Day “Best Float” prize.

They didn’t last year — but there was a good reason.

The parade was canceled, due to rain.

Yesterday and today — despite predictions of more bad weather — they headed to Vince Penna’s garage, and took last year’s float out of mothballs.

Here’s a sneak preview.

Y’s Men president Jay Dirnberger puts the finishing touches on the float. (Photos/Mike Guthman)

To see the real thing, head to the parade on Monday.

Or — if it comes to that — the one in 2018.

Friday Flashback #41

Westport’s Memorial Day parade seems timeless.

I don’t know when it began — perhaps in 1868, when “Decoration Day” first honored Civil War veterans — but anyone now alive who grew up here has strong memories of the downtown tradition.

The route changes. So do businesses along the way. And of course, fashions.

But — as these photos (courtesy of David Barton) show — Memorial Day in Westport always draws a crowd.

When the parade marched south on Main Street, the Post Road was anchored by Colgan’s drug store and luncheonette. Next to it were (in order) Colonial restaurant, Gristede’s grocery store and Marvel’s Bakery. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

The parade then made a quick turn onto Taylor Place, before ending at Jesup Green.

Ed Vebell: Monday’s Grand Marshal Has Stories To Tell

Everyone loves Westport’s Memorial Day parade.

It’s the one day each year that our sophisticated, hedge fund-filled suburb turns into an All-American village. The parade is filled with countless cops, youth soccer players, Y’s Men, Suzuki violinists, firefighters, library and Westport Country Playhouse representatives, and (of course) military vets and school band glockenspielers.

Everyone else who is not marching is on the sidewalk, enjoying the show.

But when the parade ends, not everyone makes it over to Veterans Green across from Town Hall.

That’s a shame. That’s where the real meaning of Memorial Day takes place. It’s a quick half hour of patriotic music, a few greetings from dignitaries.

And a speech from the grand marshal.

Ed Vebell, in his Compo Beach studio.

This year’s marshal is Ed Vebell. He’s that increasingly rare — but particularly important — American: a World War II veteran.

Ed turned 96 yesterday. He still lives alone, a few steps from the beach.

It takes him a while to get ready in the morning. He’ll get up extra early on Monday. He won’t speak long — his eyesight is going, and he can’t read speeches that well — but, he says, “I’ve got some war stories to tell.”

Does he ever.

Ed joined the Army Air Force in 1942. A talented artist-reporter, he was dropped behind enemy lines in Algiers, Italy and France. He’d sketch enemy equipment and positions, then be picked up 3 days later.

“I was a good target for snipers,” Ed says. “The photographers just took their pictures and ducked down. I had to stand up and draw.”

Of course, he adds, “when you’re 20 you think you’re invincible.”

He had good reason to think that. He tumbled from the Swiss Alps in a Jeep (he landed in snow-covered trees). He was lost at sea for 11 days. A sword pierced his chest. He was hit by a locomotive.

But he survived. And, Ed says, “it was all really something. I was a young kid from Chicago who had never even seen the ocean.”

An Ed Vebell illustration made in Italy, in 1944.

When the war ended, Ed stayed in France for nearly 3 years. He worked for a French newspaper, enjoyed the Folies Bergère, met Charles de Gaulle and Edith Piaf — and covered the Nuremberg trials.

Returning to America, he worked for Readers Digest, Time and Life. He illustrated books and advertisements.

He also represented the US as a fencer, at Helskinki in 1952. (He made the semifinals.)

Oh yeah: A book he wrote about his experiences — “An Artist at War” — comes out soon.

Ed Vebell definitely has stories to tell.

No one should miss them on Monday.

Ed Vebell’s book will be published next month.

 

 

Surf’s Up!

It sure doesn’t feel like May 25.

Alert “06880” reader Matt Murray captured these shots at soggy Compo Beach a short while ago:

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photos/Matt Murray)

Canal Road is closed due to flooding. Police warn of potential flooding elsewhere in town.

Meanwhile, Cross Highway and Prospect Road were closed due to downed trees and wires.

More rain is forecast for tomorrow — but temperatures will rise to about 71.

The weekend — and Memorial Day — could be cloudy, with temperatures hovering around 70.

That’s okay. After last year’s rainout, we’re ready for a parade.

Weather or not.

May 25, 2017 - Ed Simek - Compo

(Photo/Ed Simek)

Calling All WWII Vets

More than 70 years ago, you served your country.

Later this month, Westport honors you.

If you’re a World War II veteran who would like to participate in this year’s Memorial Day parade, please call Ted Diamond: 203-227-7680 or 203-216-5609.

You can walk or ride. Your uniform may or may not fit. It doesn’t matter.

What matters is that you are there!

Ted Diamond and his wife Carol, on Veterans Green before the 2014 Memorial Day ceremony. Ted — now 99, and the 2007 grand marshal — flew 50 missions during World War II.

Memorial Day Parade Decision To Be Made By 7 A.M. Monday

Westport’s public safety and Parks & Rec personnel are following the weather patterns closely. A final decision on whether or not to hold the Memorial Day parade will be announced by 7 a.m. tomorrow (Monday) morning.

If the parade is cancelled, the public is encouraged to attend the Memorial Day ceremony at Town Hall at 10 a.m. Monday.

It's a yearly tradition: The Y's Men win the "Best Float" competition. They did it again last year, for their depiction of the Japanese surrender to Gen. MacArthur. They've worked long and hard on this year's float -- but the weather report may wash out all their hard work.

It’s a yearly tradition: The Y’s Men win the “Best Float” competition. They did it again last year, for their depiction of the Japanese surrender to Gen. MacArthur. They’ve worked long and hard on this year’s float — but bad weather may wash out all their hard work.

Crowd-Sourcing Our Memorial Day Parade

The Memorial Day parade is one of Westport’s favorite town events.

Everyone has a favorite spot to watch from. Everyone has a favorite band, float or marcher to photograph.

But why share them only with a few hundred dear pals, casual acquaintances and random how’d-they-get-on-my-list Facebook “friends”?

Tomorrow, let all of Westport see “your” Memorial Day parade. Send a few (not all!) of your photos to “06880” (email: dwoog@optonline.net). Deadline: noon. Please include brief identification, if needed, and of course your own name.

I’ll post some (not all!) in the afternoon.

And be creative! We want special photos, for our special parade.

Westport celebrates Memorial Day in many ways. Here's a simple shot from the parade route.

Westport celebrates Memorial Day in many ways. Here’s a simple shot from the parade route.

The Entire Memorial Day Parade — In Less Than A Minute

Maybe you watched the entire Memorial Day parade this year. Or you marched in it, so you saw only the Y’s Men or Suzuki violinists in front of you.

Perhaps you slept in. Or you’re 3,000 miles from Westport.

Whatever happened this morning, here’s a chance to relive the entire parade — in 59 seconds.

Nick Pisarro — a Westport resident (off and on) since 1951 — created this fantastic time-lapse video.

It’s got everyone, and everything. You just have to look close — and keep your finger on the pause button.