Connecticut honors law enforcement officers lost in the line of duty with a monument in Meriden.
The Connecticut Law Enforcement Memorial, on the grounds of the state’s police academy on Preston Drive, honors 135 officers, dating back to 1855, who have been killed on duty.
A black granite obelisk in the center of the memorial bears a dedication reading, “Dedicated to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.” Names of fallen officers are inscribed on the obelisk as well as on the memorial’s granite columns.
An eternal light, inscribed with the words “Never forget” on its base, stands in front of the memorial.
The memorial, spearheaded by the Connecticut Police Chief’s Association, was dedicated in 1989.
Meriden boasts an impressive collection of military monuments along a nearly quarter-mile stretch of Broad Street (Rte. 5).
The largest of the monuments, near the intersection of Broad Street and East Main Street, is the city’s 1930 World War Monument. The monument, by Italian sculptor Aristide Berto Cianfarani, features four figures (representing infantry soldiers, marines, sailors and nurses) at the base of a pointed shaft topped by an allegorical eagle.
An inscription on the western face of the monument’s base reads, “Dedicated to those from Meriden who made the supreme sacrifice in the service of their country during the World War 1917-1918.”
The other faces of the monument’s base list local residents lost in the conflict. Fluting along the column’s shaft and a collection of bronze stars just below the eagle symbolize the United States flag.
Not far from the monument is Meriden’s World War Wall of Honor, which features six large bronze plaques, each with four columns of names.
Also near the World War monument is the city’s 1955 World War II Honor Roll, which features two granite monuments with three plaques on each side. Each of the 12 plaques has five columns of names, and a small corrections plaque has been attached to one of the monument’s faces.
Moving south along the Broad Street median, we find a Gold Star monument honoring war heroes. The monument features an eagle and four service emblems on its south face, along with the dedication, “To live in the hearts of those we leave is not to die.”
Just across a gap in the median stands the city’s Marine Corps Monument, which was erected in 1976 by local Marines to honor members’ service on the Corps’ 201st anniversary. The U.S. and Marine Corps flags are displayed near the monument.
A bit further south is Meriden’s Spanish-American War monument, which features a rifle-bearing soldier facing east. A plaque on the monument’s east face has three columns listing the names of residents who served in the conflict.
Continuing south, the next monument honors the service of residents in Korea and Vietnam. A dedication on the east face reads, “In memory of the citizens of Meriden who answered their country’s call.” The left section of the monument lists the 20 residents who fought in Korea, and the right section lists the names of 25 Vietnam veterans.
The last Broad Street monument we’ll look at honors Count Casmir Pulaski, a Polish military commander who emigrated to what would become the United States and became a brigadier general during the American Revolution. Regarded as the father of the American cavalry, Pulaski was killed in 1779 during a siege in Savannah, Ga.
A tall granite obelisk topped by an infantry soldier honors the service of Meriden’s Civil War heroes.
The monument, outside City Hall at the triangular intersection of East Main Street (Rte. 66) and Liberty Street, was dedicated in 1873.
A dedication at the base of the front (west) face reads, “To the memory of our fellow citizens who died in defence (sic) of the government 1861-1865. Dedicated 1873.”
The front face, like the other three, also bears a bronze plaque that honors about 40 residents killed in the war by listing their name, rank, company, regiment, place of death and date of death. The names are arranged by their company affiliation, which in several instances groups soldiers killed in the same battles.
The memorial plaques are uncommon in that the letters are incised into the plaque, instead of being raised. The Soldiers’ Monument in Norwich also uses this technique.
The front face of the obelisk also features the U.S. and Connecticut shields, and lists the battles of Antietam and Gettysburg. The south face honors the battles of Vicksburg and Fort Fisher (N.C.); the east Atlanta and Appomattox; and the north lists New Berne and Roanoke Island (both in N.C.)
The monument was created by Batterson, Canfield & Co., a Hartford firm that supplied a fair portion of the state’s Civil War monuments.
A 1948 granite marker on the south side of the main stairs to City Hall commemorates an 1860 political speech by Abraham Lincoln. A marker on the north side of the stairs, made from metal salvaged from the USS Maine, honors Spanish-American War veterans (identical plaques are displayed in Naugatuck, Bridgeport, Norwich, and several other Connecticut cities).
City Hall, a 1907 replacement for a building that burned down, stands atop a small hill, which adds to the prominence of City Hall and the monument in front of it.
The site was once surrounded by a fence, but the fence and four cannons were donated to World War II scrap drives. Small pillars decorated with shields stand at the four corners of the monument’s base.