Tag Archives: Westport Veterans Green

Photo Challenge #148

You’d think a plaque honoring all of Westport’s veterans — “living or dead” — would be located in a prominent spot. Veterans Green, probably. The VFW, perhaps.

You’d also think that because it was dedicated in 1975, plenty of people would remember where it was.

You’d be wrong.

Jack Whittle and Deej Webb were the only “06880” readers who knew where last week’s photo challenge can be found. (Click here for the image, and all comments.)

It’s not what our veterans deserve. The plaque is at the old Bertucci’s (and older: Clam Box) property, near where a memorial flagpole once stood.

There’s a reason it’s there, and it has nothing to do with clams or pizza. For several decades, a Doughboy statue once graced the median, between the restaurant and Torno Hardware.

It was relocated probably 20-25 years ago to Veterans Green (though it was not called that then). It’s certainly a more appropriate spot — across from Town Hall, next to the Westport Historical Society.

Also appropriately, I’m honored to pass along alert (and patriotic) “06880” reader Adam Vengrow’s reminder:

Veteran’s Day is Saturday, November 11. Westport’s Town Hall ceremony is always inspiring — but  lightly attended. Consider going (10:30 a.m.). School’s not in session that day, so bring the kids too. It’s a great way — besides a plaque — to honor our veterans.

Now here’s this week’s photo challenge. If you think you know where in Westport it is, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

Friday Flashback #14

Today is Veterans Day. Westporters — those who served our country, and those who simply wished to honor them — gathered in the Town Hall auditorium, for an 11 a.m. 11/11 ceremony.

Back in the day — the World Wars I and  II, Korean and Vietnam Wars day — Town Hall was located on the Post Road. It was a small, handsome building next to what was then the Fine Arts Theater.

town-hall-original-2

Today the old Town Hall is next door to Restoration Hardware — and it’s where you’ll find the Rothbard Ale + Larder restaurant.

There’s another reason it’s appropriate to run this photo today. Stevan Dohanos’ December 1943 Saturday Evening Post cover showed our town’s Honor Roll. It celebrated all our citizens serving in the armed forces that year — quite a while after the above photo was taken.

This was the 1st of Dohanos’ 136 covers for the magazine.

stevan-dohanos-veterans-cover

Today the Honor Roll is part of Veterans Green, opposite the current Town Hall on Myrtle Avenue.

Of course, there are many more names now than when Dohanos made Westport’s Town Hall famous, nationwide.

Edyo’s Monument

Last night “60 Minutes” aired a harrowing piece on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ mistreatment of millions of vets, from Vietnam through today’s conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The department should have hired Edyo Keehan.  He knew how to get things done.

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, the Westport native dropped out of Staples.  He enlisted in the Navy.  There was a war to fight.  He was 17 years old.

He fought in North Africa, Europe and the Pacific.  When the Japanese surrendered at Tokyo Bay, Edyo was there.

He came back to Westport, and worked as a truck manager for 18 years.  He retired, then began a 2nd career in real estate.

But his real job was making sure that Westport’s veterans were not forgotten.  Those from earlier battles — World War I — had their names on a handsome Honor Roll that stood outside the old Town Hall (the stone building next to Restoration Hardware set back from the Post Road; it’s now a bank).  In 1943, Westport artist Stevan Dohanos painted the memorial for a Saturday Evening Post cover.

Four decades later, when Town Hall moved to Myrtle Avenue, the monument was lost.  Edyo vowed to replace it.

It wasn’t easy.  Bureaucracy moves slowly, and veterans were not high on Westport’s list of priorities.

Edyo persisted.  He pushed, prodded, poked and pestered.  A new Honor Roll was created.  In 1998, it was dedicated on Veterans Green — opposite the Myrtle  Avenue Town Hall.

The monument is perfect.  It’s in exactly the right spot, at exactly the right angle.  It looks like it’s been there forever.

The Honor Roll is shaded by trees.  Behind them every Memorial Day, a bugler stands out of sight, playing “Taps.”

The names are etched proudly.  They are there for posterity.  They honor Westporters who defended their country.  They honor Edyo’s neighbors, and friends.

(Edward J. “Edyo” Keehan died Saturday at Norwalk Hospital.  He was 84.  There are no calling hours.  A Mass of Christian Burial will take place Thursday at 10 a.m., at Assumption Church.)

The Honor Roll at Veterans Green (Photo by Jerry Dougherty)