War Memorials, North Haven

North Haven honors local veterans with a collection of monuments on the green across from its 1886 Memorial Town Hall.

Near the southern end of the green, North Haven honors Civil War veterans with a 1905 monument that features an 1867 Rodman gun mounted on a stone base. A dedication on the base’s front (west) face reads, “Erected by the town of North Haven as a tribute to the valor of her sons who on land and sea fought in the Civil War to preserve the Union.”

The east face lists the monument’s 1905 dedication date and honors the battles of Cedar Mountain, Fort Wagner, Fredericksburg, Fort Gregg, and Petersburg (all in Virginia).

The cannon was manufactured in 1867 at the Fort Pitt Foundry in Pittsburgh, and was one of four installed at Lighthouse Point in New Haven. Another Lighthouse Point cannon stands as a Civil War monument on the East Haven green. Another that stood near Milford’s Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument was lost to a World War II scrap drive, and the fate of the fourth cannon isn’t readily known.

A pyramid of replica cannonballs stands near the monument.

Also north of the Civil War monument are memorials to local veterans who served in Vietnam and Korea. Those wars are commemorated with Honor Roll plaques mounted on granite monuments.

Moving farther north, we find North Haven’s World War II monument, which features two large Honor Roll plaques listing local veterans in 10 columns. The right side of the monument also lists seven residents killed in the conflict as well as one who was missing in action. The left side has a plaque honoring nine residents who were held as prisoners of war.

Across Church Street stands North Haven’s 1886 Memorial Town Hall, which was the town’s first tribute to its Civil War Veterans. Just inside the lobby are plaques listing local veterans who served in the Civil War and World War I, and a monument honoring all war veterans stands in front of the building.

The plaque listing residents who served in the Civil War is a later replacement for a marble plaque (now owned by the North Haven Historical Society) listing residents who died in the war.

The erection of a memorial hall and a Civil War monument reflects a debate held in several Connecticut towns whether to honor veterans with a monument or a civic building. As was the case in Madison, monument supporters continued campaigning well after a town hall had been constructed, and the town eventually received both.

Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, Milford

During a break in the wet snow blanketing southern Connecticut today, we again visited the 1888 Soldiers’ and Sailor’s Monument honoring Milford’s Civil War veterans.

Unlike the tulips and holiday lights we saw on earlier visits to the monument, wet snow clung to much of the monument, including the eagle on the front (east) face and the infantry figure atop the monument.

A bit west of the Soldiers’ and Sailor’s Monument, the bronze figures on Milford’s Korea and Vietnam War Monument were also covered with snow.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial, New Haven

The service of Vietnam veterans from the greater New Haven area is honored with a collection of monuments on New Haven harbor.

The 1988 Vietnam memorial consists of two monuments. The smaller of the two is a polished granite slab with a dedication on its front (north) face reading, “This memorial is dedicated in honor of the men and women who served during the Vietnam War from the surrounding cities and towns: New Haven, East Haven, West Haven, North Haven, Hamden, Orange, [and] Woodbridge.”

The slab is also inscribed with five service emblems as well as the Vietnam service medal.

The memorial also features an 11-foot-high, V-shaped monument inscribed with the names of 55 area residents who were killed in the conflict, as well as the names of three men who were prisoners or reported missing.

The left side of the V-shaped memorial features a bronze depiction of the Vietnam service medal.

The Vietnam memorials were created by sculptors Kenneth Polanski and Frank Pannenborg.

The Vietnam memorial is joined by a polished black granite Korean War monument that features a map of the Korean penisula along with an inscription reading, “In honor of those who served during the Korean War from the greater New Haven area. Forgotten war, forgotten no more. Freedom is not free.”

Next to the Korean War memorial is a granite monument honoring service in the global war on terrorism that lists the names of four area residents from the First Battalion, 102nd Infantry who were killed in 2004 or 2006.

Another nearby granite monument honors recipients of the Purple Heart medal.

The monuments are part of a waterfront park in the Long Wharf section of New Haven, which was named after piers that were removed when Interstate 95 was constructed. The waterfront near the park was used by British troops leaving New Haven after their 1779 invasion of the city.

Williams Park, New London

New London honors Nathan Hale and veterans of recent wars with a trio of monuments in its Williams Park.

The Nathan Hale statue near the center of the Broad Street park is a 1935 copy of an 1890 statue in New York’s City Hall Park. The statue features Hale, a Connecticut schoolteacher and Continental spy who was hanged in 1776 by British forces at the age of 21, standing atop a round marble base with ropes binding his arms and legs.

An inscription on the front (southwest) face of the monument reads, “Nathan Hale, born in Coventry, Connecticut, June 6, 1755. A schoolmaster in New London, a captain in the Continental Army who resigned his life [as] a sacrifice to his country’s liberty at New York, Sept. 22d 1776.”

The base is also inscribed with Hale’s reported last words, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

The New London statue is a copy of a statue by Frederick William MacMonnies, who many other works include the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and a statue of Charles Lindberg in a Harvard art museum. The text on the base of the New York edition, which was designed by Stanford White, omits the references to Coventry and New London.

The New London version was cast in 1934 as part of the celebration of Connecticut’s tercentenary in 1935. New London was chosen because Hale had taught school in a small schoolhouse immediately before his service in the American Revolution (the schoolhouse now stands downtown, not far from the Soldiers’ and Sailor’s monument).

Williams Park also honors veterans with a monument featuring a tall stand of shrubbery near the southeast side of the park. The monument, dedicated in 1961 by the Jewish War Veterans, also includes a granite marker inscribed, “Gratefully dedicated to those who gave their lives in the service of our country in order to preserve its ideals of liberty and democracy.”

The middle of the southwest side of the park (along Broad Street) features New London’s monument to its World War II, Korea and Vietnam veterans. The central section of the stone monument lists nearly 125 residents killed in World War II. The left and right sections honor Korea and Vietnam veterans, and both plaques are inscribed with a dedication reading. “This memorial is dedicated to those who served when the call of their country was heard. Self was forgotten. Their deeds and efforts shall never be forgotten.”

Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Art Inventories Catalog

Woodbridge Avenue Honor Roll, Ansonia

An Ansonia neighborhood honors residents who have served in recent wars with a granite monument on a small hillside.

The Woodbridge Avenue Honor Roll, near the intersection with Visselli Court (named after the first resident lost in World War II), is the latest version of a monument that started informally during the Second World War and has been revised several times since.

Today, the monument features a central monument, with three bronze plaques, dedicated to World War II veterans. The central plaque lists the names of nine neighborhood residents who were killed in the war, and features a large cross and a prayer to the Blessed Mother (who is represented with a small figurine inset into the monument). A dedication plaque on the lower section honors veterans of all of the nation’s wars, and features the crests of the military services.

The central plaque is flanked by two markers that collectively list nearly 250 names of local WWII veterans.

The monument also features plaques honor the service of veterans in the Korean and Vietnam wars. The Korean War plaque lists 50 names. The Vietnam plaque lists 56 residents who served in the conflict and highlights two who were killed.

It is striking to see the similarities of the names on the plaques. It is common to see four or five members of a family who served in the same conflict, and it is also common to see the same last name represented on the different plaques – undoubtedly relatives of veterans of the previous war.

Three smaller monuments lower on the hillside describe the history of the monument, which started in 1942 with a flag honoring local veterans and war heroes. A wooden honor roll was built two years later, and was replaced with a granite monument in 1958.

In 2002, the monument was updated and renovated, and moved to its current location. The wooden plaques were replaced with today’s bronze markers.

Honor Roll, Fairfield

Fairfield honors local veterans with a large honor roll display on the town’s historic green.

The honor roll features seven large panels with the names of local residents who served in the nation’s 20th century wars as well as on the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Starting at the far left, the Korea war section has 10 columns of names engraved on small aluminum plaques. The World War I section displays seven columns of names.

The three central panels honoring World War II veterans each feature 16 columns of names, while the “Persian Gulf” panel honors residents who served in the 1990 Gulf War, the current fighting in Iraq in Afghanistan, and other conflicts including Lebanon, Grenada, the Dominican Republic, and Panama.

The far right panel included 10 columns of names honoring local Vietnam veterans.

The site is also decorated with flagpoles, shrubbery and two benches.

Directly behind the honor roll monument, a boulder commemorates the 1639 founding of Fairfield and the 1779 burning of the town by British forces during the American Revolution. The boulder was dedicated in 1900 by a local DAR chapter.

Also near the honor roll is a boulder, dedicated in 1979, that honors local Vietnam War veterans.

The honor roll stands in front of Fairfield’s Old Town Hall, sections of which date back to 1794. A 1936 plaque inside the building describes its history and its expansion in 1870.

World War I veterans are also listed on a 1919 Honor Roll just off the Town Hall lobby. Its location in a narrow hallway made photography challenging.

A plaque outside Town Hall commemorates a 1984 campaign appearance by President Ronald Reagan.

Essex Veterans Memorial, Centerbrook

Essex Veterans Memorial, CenterbrookA battlefield cross and a large granite monument in the Centerbrook section of Essex honor local veterans.

The Essex Veterans Memorial, located near the intersections of Main Street, Deep River Road and Westbrook Road, features a granite wall we’re estimating to be seven or eight feet high. The west face of the monument honors veterans of World War I and World War II, listing the names of about 180 World War I veterans (including 10 who were killed in the war). The World War II listing, which continues on the east face, lists about 216 names and highlights 8 who were killed.

The east face also honors local veterans who served in Korea and Vietnam, with the Korea section listing about 130 names and the Vietnam section listing about 250. Both sections honor one local hero killed in the respective wars.

Near the granite wall is a battlefield cross memorial encased in a vented plastic box. The battlefield cross, following a military tradition believed to have started in the Civil War, features an inverted rifle, a helmet, dog tags, goggles, a pair of boots and several other personal items.

Essex Veterans Memorial, CenterbrookA granite marker near the battlefield cross display reads “Yesterday, today and forever, we honor those who served our country in the cause of liberty. Dedicated November 11, 1987. Essex Veterans Memorial.”

Battlefield cross memorials are typically created to honor fallen comrades in the field or at military bases. We’re not aware of similar outdoor memorials in Connecticut, and were impressed by the simplicity and power of the Essex memorial.

Thanks to the reader who told us about this memorial.

Essex Veterans Memorial, Centerbrook

Essex Veterans Memorial, Centerbrook

Essex Veterans Memorial, Centerbrook

Essex Veterans Memorial, Centerbrook


Veterans’ Memorial, Old Saybrook

Veterans' Memorial, Old SaybrookOld Saybrook honors its Civil War veterans with a simple monument in Riverside Cemetery.

The undated monument stands in a small traffic island near the cemetery’s main entrance from Sheffield Street. A dedication on its front (south) face reads “In memory of our comrades who served in the war of the rebellion. Erected by the veterans of Old Saybrook.”

At the base of the monument are the years in which the Civil War took place, 1861-1865.

The monument is not dated, but the reference to the “war of the rebellion,” likely indicates the monument was erected in the late 19th Century. By the early 20th Century, the conflict was more commonly described as the Civil War.

The monument has no lettering on its other faces. A smaller, more modern granite marker at the base of the monument bears the inscription “Veterans’ Memorial.” Several Civil War veterans are buried in the sections near the monument.

A short distance southwest of the cemetery, three monuments in front of Town Hall honor the veterans of the 20th Century’s Wars. A 1926 boulder monument honoring the service of World War I veterans bears a dedication on its front (west) face reading “In memory of Old Saybrook’s sons who served.  The east face of the monument has a plaque with two columns of names listing local veterans, organized by service branches. The monument is topped by a bronze eagle.

Veterans' Memorial, Old SaybrookNear the World War monument, a granite monument dedicated in 1961 honors local war heroes. A dedication near the top of the monument reads, “Erected by the citizens of Old Saybrook in memory of her sons who died at war.”

Beneath that dedication, the monument lists heroes and the wars in which they were lost. One person is listed for World War I; 15 for World War II; two for Korea, and one for Vietnam.

A polished granite monument in front of three flagpoles bears the POW-MIA logo. An eternal flame flickers in front of the POW-MIA monument.

Veterans' Memorial, Old Saybrook

Riverside Cemetery, Old Saybrook

War Memorials, Old Saybrook

War Memorial, Old Saybrook

World War Memorial, Old Saybrook

World War Memorial, Old Saybrook

Liberty and Peace Monument, Newtown

Liberty and Peace Monument, NewtownA tall monument topped by an allegorical standard-bearer honors Newtown’s soldiers and sailors.

The monument features three pillars rising from a base dominated by benches. A dedication on the west face of the monument’s base reads, “Newtown remembers with grateful prayers and solemn vows her sacred dead [and] her honored living who ventured all unto death that we might live a republic with independence, a nation with union forever, a world with righteousness and peace for all.”

The monument is surrounded by a series of Honor Roll plaques listing local residents who have served in the nation’s wars. The front of the monument features a plaque honoring veterans of the Civil War and the World War, and another plaque  lists veterans of the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican War (in the 1840s), the Spanish-American War, and the Mexican Border War (in 1915-16).

Moving counter-clockwise around the base of the monument, plaques list veterans of the Persian Gulf War (1990-91); Vietnam; Korea; and World War II.

Liberty and Peace Monument, NewtownThe helmeted allegorical figure atop the monument, representing Peace, stands with a flag, a laurel branch and a chain tucked in her arms.

The monument was designed by Franklin L. Naylor, who was also responsible for a war memorial in Jersey City, N.J.

The monument was erected in 1931 on the site of a former schoolhouse that was later moved and turned into a private home. The monument’s formal dedication took place in 1939.

The monument is more commonly known as the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, but according to the Newtown Historical Society, the artist’s original blueprints list the name as the Liberty and Peace Monument. The society’s newsletter advocated a return to the original name, so we’re doing our small part in promoting the change.

Sources: Connecticut Historical Society: Civil War Monuments of Connecticut

Newtown Historical Society

Liberty and Peace Monument, Newtown

Liberty and Peace Monument, Newtown

Liberty and Peace Monument, Newtown

Liberty and Peace Monument, Newtown


Korean War Memorial, Bridgeport

Korean War Memorial, BridgeportOn Veterans’ Day, the city of Bridgeport dedicated a monument to its Korean War heroes.

The new monument joins the World War II memorial dedicated in June, the 1932 World War memorial and the 1983 Vietnam memorial at the western end of McLevy Hall, a former City Hall building that hosted an 1860 speech by Abraham Lincoln.

The monument, built to your right as you face the World War II memorial, lists the names of 29 city residents lost in the Korean conflict. It also includes a quote from Harry S. Truman describing the war as well as two Bible verses. A map of Korea stands in front of the monument.

We were unfortunately unable to attend the dedication ceremony, but according to Connecticut Post coverage, nearly 200 veterans and family members were thanked for their service.

Korean War Memorial, BridgeportThe plaza containing the war memorials, named after Bridgeport resident Col. Henry Mucci (who organized a rescue operation of Bataan Death March survivors) has changed this year to accommodate the new monuments. (Col. Mucci has also been honored with a local highway, but the plaza is probably a more dignified tribute.)

As you can see in images from previous visits, the Vietnam memorial that stood in the center the plaza has been moved to the left of the World War II memorial, and a memorial brick walkway has been added.

Congratulations to local veterans for this well-deserved honor, and to city officials for their efforts in recognizing the contributions and sacrifices made by local heroes.

Korean War Memorial, Bridgeport

Korean War Memorial, Bridgeport

Vietnam War Memorial, Bridgeport

World War and Vietnam monuments, February 2009
World War and Vietnam monuments, February 2009

World War II Monument Dedication, June