Honor Roll Project: Norwalk, CT – World War I (part 1)

In recognition of those who have served our country in the military, Heather Wilkinson Rojo of the Nutfield Genealogy blog started the Honor Roll Project. It’s an opportunity to publicly document the names on military memorials around the world, thus making them easily searchable on the internet for people who are looking for them!

This post is the beginning of several I’ll post over time regarding the World War I memorial on the green in Norwalk, CT. There are eight panels with hundreds of names on it. Here is a shot of the whole memorial:

WWI Memorial on the Norwalk Green. Author's collection.

WWI Memorial on the Norwalk Green. Author’s collection.

And below is the first panel and its transcription:

First panel of memorial. Author's collection.

First panel of memorial. Author’s collection.

THIS MONUMENT IS ERECTED
AS A TRIBUTE OF HONOR TO THE
CITIZENS OF NORWALK, CONN.
WHO DEVOTED THEMSELVES TO THE CAUSE
OF FREEDOM IN THE SERVICE OF OUR COUNTRY
DURING THE GREAT WORLD WAR, 1917 – 1919
AND AS A MEMORIAL TO THE MEN
WHO MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE

ABBOTT FRED E GROTTY WILLIAM JAMES GEORGE L. PARADISO ANTONIO
AMUNDSEN FRED W. DAVENPORT CHARLES R. LEONARD JAMES P. RICCO GIOVANNI
BATES CHARLES FERRIS FRANK H. LARSEN ALBERT C. SCHULTZ GILBERT O.
BENNETT EDWARD GODFREY FRANK C. LOUDEN CLARENCE A. SHEEHAN FREDERICK
BIRDSALL CORTLAND V. GOLDSTEIN PETER LUEVINE SAMUEL SHEEHAN MARCUS
BLAKE MORTIMER G. GOODROW WILLIS MOORE FREDERICK SMITH RUSSELL I.
BLOOM CHARLES H. HALLWATER KENNETH MOSCARIELLO THOMAS SMITH WALTER J.
BURWELL JOHN C. HALL ROBERT S. MULVOY ANTHONY J. SNIFFEN CHARLES H.
CAFFREY THOMAS P. HAYES ARTHUR NICHOLS CLAYTON W. TARLOV AIME
CANTONI JAMES G. HOLSTON ANSLEY H. O’BRIEN JEREMIAH F. WEED DAVID JONATHAN
CIFATTE STEPHEN HUNT FREDERICK OWENS PATRICK ZOELLER WILLIAM
COLEMAN JAMES E.

 

THE CANNON THAT SURMOUNTS THIS MONUMENT WAS USED BY THE FRENCH
ARMY DURING THE WORLD WAR. IT WAS CAPTURED BY THE GERMAN ARMY AND LATER
RECAPTURED BY THE FRENCH AND PRESENTED TO THE
CITY OF NORWALK, CONN. JULY 16, 1921. BY THE REPUBLIC OF FRANCE

Honor Roll Project: Norwalk, CT – Civil War

In recognition of those who have served our country in the military, Heather Wilkinson Rojo of the Nutfield Genealogy blog started the Honor Roll Project. It’s an opportunity to publicly document the names on military memorials around the world, thus making them easily searchable on the internet for people who are looking for them!

Norwalk, CT has a lot of memorials. They are located near the beach, in parks, even at City Hall. There is one obscure memorial that I came across recently on the front lawn of the Norwalk Public Library on Belden Avenue:

Civil War memorial at Norwalk Library.  Author's collection.

Civil War memorial at Norwalk Library. Author’s collection.

It reads:

IN MEMORY OF
WILLIAM A. BUCKINGHAM
WAR GOVERNOR OF CONN. 1861-1865

AND IN HONOR OF OUR DEPARTED COMRADES
OAK TREE PLANTED IN 1909 BY
BUCKINGHAM POST NO. 12 G.A.R.

TABLET ERECTED BY SURVIVING MEMBERS NOV. 11 1926

GEORGE W. RAYMOND      G.A. FRANKE
NICHOLAS KLINE      GEORGE A. WHITE      SAMUEL W. MCGOWAN
ANDREW GEDDES      CYRUS RUSCOE           WILLIAM B. DOUGLAS

I would like to document more of the memorials here in town, but that is going to take some time, as I believe there are hundreds (maybe thousands) of names to transcribe! So stay tuned during the Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day seasons.

Let Freedom Ring – Norwalk Style

Every Fourth of July, I try to make it out to Norwalk, CT’s annual “Let Freedom Ring” ceremony at the old Town House at Mill Hill. Out of all the Independence Day celebrations, this one is most true to the real meaning of the holiday. It is celebrated every year nationwide (although it is not formally organized) as a result of a Concurrent Congressional Resolution that can be read here (see the top of the linked page). Every year, it’s a little different; sometimes more elaborate than others. This year was rather simple, but faithful to Independence Day.

Let Freedom Ring!

Let Freedom Ring!

Diane Jellerette, Executive Director of the Norwalk Historical Society, welcomed everyone to the annual “Let Freedom Ring” bell-ringing ceremony. She reminded us of how our own city of Norwalk was involved in the Revolution during the Battle and subsequent Burning of Norwalk, where General Tryon only left about 6 homes standing of nearly a hundred that were in town.

Ms. Jellerette welcomed the many city and state officials that were in attendance. Mayor Harry Rilling said a few words, proudly declaring that, “America is, without a doubt, the best country on earth.” He reminded us of the phrase “with liberty and justice for all” from the Pledge of Allegiance we recited earlier applies now more than ever to all people.

Mayor Rilling.  Author's collection.

Mayor Rilling. Author’s collection.

Dressed in colonial garb, Town Clerk Rick McQuaid had the honor of reading excerpts of the Declaration of Independence (to be honest, I believe he read the whole thing).

Town Clerk Rick McQuaid reads the Declaration of Independence.  Author's collection.

Town Clerk Rick McQuaid reads the Declaration of Independence. Author’s collection.

Finally came the centerpiece of the ceremony: the ringing of the bell thirteen times, once for each newly independent state. (Technically, the bell ringing is to occur at 2pm, but that is when we started the whole ceremony.)  Councilman Erik Anderson read off the list of states as Senator Bob Duff (who attends the event every year) rang the bell of the old Town House.  (I was hoping to embed video, but WordPress doesn’t accept that filetype.  However, you can view my tweet that captured at least part of it here.)

What followed was a beautiful, pitch-perfect rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” by Catherine Robinson of Norwalk’s Crystal Theatre. Many couldn’t help but join in as the song progressed.

Catherine Robinson, singing the National Anthem.  Author's collection.

Catherine Robinson, singing the National Anthem. Author’s collection.

The ceremony concluded as Ms. Jellerette explained that the Town House will shortly be undergoing a renovation. Just recently, the grounds of Mill Hill were renovated to include a walkway and an herb garden, which she invited all to check out. And in the fall, a new Norwalk Museum will be opening up on the same grounds as City Hall after being out of commission for quite some time. There is much to look forward to regarding Norwalk history!

New herb garden at Mill Hill.  Author's collection.

New herb garden at Mill Hill. Author’s collection.