By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
The West Haven Veterans Museum & Learning Center on Sunday presented “A Salute to 100 Years of Veterans,” a centennial exhibit honoring the community’s service members.
The four-hour exhibit, held by the City of West Haven Centennial Celebration Committee, was part of a six-month series of free events marking the community’s 1921 birth and its incorporation by the General Assembly as Connecticut’s youngest municipality, said Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, the committee’s honorary chairwoman.
The public display included a “visual representation,” or wall, of more than 300 names of West Haven men and women from the past 100 years who defended the liberty and integrity of the United States while serving in all branches of the armed forces, said Arlene DeGrand Painter, who manages the museum.
Frank Chasney, the president of the museum’s board of directors, led the Pledge of Allegiance before introducing Russell Armstead, the deputy executive director of the West Haven VA Medical Center, who delivered remarks on the long history of the Veterans Affairs hospital at 950 Campbell Ave.
City Human Resources Commissioner Beth A. Sabo, the committee’s chairwoman, talked about the patriotic memorials, monuments, and statues for veterans in West Haven and the annual ceremonies commemorating them.
Museum member Barry Josephs, an Army veteran of the Vietnam War, discussed the history of Veterans Day.
The event also included tours of the museum, a living history of America at war.
The 9,000-square-foot museum at 30 Hood Terrace shows collections from the 102nd Infantry Regiment and the New Haven Grays, a protective force formed after the War of 1812. It also displays relics from each conflict since the U.S. fought for independence, allowing visitors to walk a timeline around the camouflage-clad warehouse off Sawmill Road.
The exhibit joined a long list of special events observing West Haven’s secession from Orange a century ago, including the Centennial Boat Parade in June, the Centennial Savin Rock Festival in July, the Centennial Fireworks and the “Hubbard Farms” exhibit in September, and the Centennial Fire Expo on Saturday. The rural and residential sections of Orange separated in 1921 when the residential part, West Haven, became the state’s youngest town.
For centennial merchandise, visit the official online store at https://merchwebstores.com/West-Haven-Centennial/shop/home.
The store, hosted by West Haven vendor West Shore Associates, sells such centennial-branded merchandise as long- and short-sleeved T-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, stainless steel tumblers, stemless wine glasses, insulated beverage bottles, ceramic mugs, retro sunglasses, canvas and cotton tote bags, eco-performance face masks, and pigment-dyed twill and mesh trucker caps.
A portion of the vendor’s merchandise proceeds will offset expenses and support the $50,000 centennial budget approved by the City Council, Sabo said.
For a complete list of centennial events, see the schedule at https://www.cityofwesthaven.com/343/Centennial-Events.