By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
The Veterans Museum & Learning Center will observe West Haven’s centennial with an exhibit honoring the community’s service members.
The open house exhibit, “A Salute to Veterans of the Last 100 Years,” is slated for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 7 at 30 Hood Terrace. Doughnuts and refreshments will be served.
The exhibit, presented by the City of West Haven Centennial Celebration Committee, is 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.
The public display will include 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.
Painter said city Human Resources Commissioner Beth A. Sabo, the committee’s chairwoman, will talk about the patriotic memorials, monuments and statues for veterans in West Haven and the annual services commemorating them.
Museum member Barry Josephs, an Army veteran of the Vietnam War, will discuss the history of Veterans Day, Painter said.
The event will also include tours of the museum, a living history of America at war.
The 9,000-square-foot museum 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.
Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, the committee’s honorary chairwoman, said the exhibit will join a long list of special events celebrating West Haven’s secession from Orange a century ago, including the Centennial Boat Parade in June, the Centennial Savin Rock Festival in July, and the Centennial Fireworks and the “Hubbard Farms” exhibit in September. The rural and residential sections of Orange separated in 1921 when the residential part, West Haven, became the state’s youngest town.
In the spirit of West Haven’s birthday, Sabo will sell copies of the new centennial book, “City of West Haven: Village to Town,” as well as centennial coins, lapel pins and WestHavenOpoly, the centennial version of the board game Monopoly.
All book and merchandise proceeds generated by the committee will offset expenses and support the $50,000 centennial budget approved by the City Council, Sabo said.
For other 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 support the centennial account, Sabo said.
For a complete list of centennial events, see the schedule at https://www.cityofwesthaven.com/343/Centennial-Events.