PHOTOS: Veterans Day Patriotic Walk & Ceremony Mark 100 Years Since World War I

Peter LeBeau greets the crowds at the Veterans Day ceremony following the patriotic community walk on Veterans Day, Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

On Sunday morning Greenwich residents honored the memories of loved ones who served their country, many who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Veterans Day, originally observed as Armistice Day, is always a special day of remembrance, but 2018 has the added distinction of marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

“The year 2018 is one of great significance in the history of the US and indeed the world,” said Peter LeBeau, commander of American Legion Post 29 in Greenwich, in the ceremony’s opening remarks.

“It was 100 years ago to this very day that an armistice was signed between Germany and some 30 Allied powers, putting at long last an end to the horrific, bloody five year struggle, known as World War I, then considered ‘the war to end all wars.'”


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LeBeau explained that since 1918, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in each year is a time to reflect on the sacrifice of over 9 million soldiers who lost their lives in that conflict and to honor their memory.

“Sadly most of our school children today know little, if anything about World War I, or for that matter the other wars in which the US has been involved because of revisionist history now taught in our schools,” he said.

State Senator Scott Frantz and State Rep Mike Bocchino participated in the patriotic community walk on Veterans Day. Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

Livvy Floren, Lloyd Hull

Participants were encouraged to bring photos of loved ones who served their country. State Rep Livvy Floren brought a photo of Lloyd Hull, a veteran of WWII who joined the Navy in 1942. Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

Boy Scouts James Heavey and Adity Malhotra alongside newly elected State Senator Alexandra Bergstein in the community walk, Nov 11 2018. Photo: Leslie Yager

Boy Scouts James Heavey and Adity Malhotra alongside newly elected State Senator Alexandra Bergstein in the community walk, Nov 11 2018. Photo: Leslie Yager

Participants were encouraged to bring photos of loved ones who served their country. Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

Members of Troop 35, “the best in town,” according to James Heavey, who was named American Legion Young Person of the Year at the ceremony following the community walk. Noah Brehm, Arman Malhotra, David Levine, James Heavey, Ben Levine, and Adity Malhotra. Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

“Many history textbooks make no mention of the War in Vietnam, a war in which I fought, and a war that literally tore our country apart, and during which 60,000 men and women in our armed forces were killed in action,” LeBeau said. “Do we not owe it to our children to make them aware of just what it cost to ensure the blessings of freedom they enjoy today as Americans?”

With a nod to the statue across the street of one of Greenwich’s most notable veterans, Mr. LeBeau said said Col Raynal Bolling was the first senior officer in the US Army killed in action during World War I. (See side bar for Mr. LeBeau’s entire remarks).

Text of Peter LeBeau’s remarks about Colonel Raynal Cawthorne Bolling: Bolling was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas 1877. He moved with his family to Pennsylvania, and in 1900 graduated with honors from Harvard and in 1902, graduated from Harvard Law School, again with honors. Bolling began his professional career as a lawyer in New York with US Steel, later becoming its solicitor general. While living in New York, he joined Squadron A of the NY National Guard where he excelled in horsemanship and marksmanship. Having married in 1910, he then moved to Greenwich with his wife and four children. In summer of 1915, Bolling organized a motor machine gun company in New York City and deployed them to Plattsburgh, New York for training. During that same summer, he established the Air Service Training School in Mineola, Long Island, and the first Aero Company of the New York Air National Guard. In spring of 1917, with the United States having entered the war, Bolling joined the the US Army with the rank of Captain and was tasked with with organizing the first reserve aero squadron. With his outstanding military and legal credentials, he was summoned to Washington where he assisted in the preparation of the legislation on which the air service was founded. Then posted to Europe to select the types of aeronautical equipment which America would manufacture in support of the Allied effort. Late in 1917, holding the rank of Colonel, Bolling was appointed commander in Chief of all Air Service matters in the Allied expeditionary forces. In the winter of 1918, he was assigned to the British Royal Air Force in preparation for assuming tactical command of the American air units deployed on the British front lines. When the British lines crumbled in the great German offensive of 1918 the Air Service was faced for the first time with managing the complexities of operating on front lines. Realizing the important of this new challenge Col Bolling threw himself into the thick of the fight in spite of the great danger in order to get first hand information to maximize the role of Allied air effort. When he learned that the enemy was a mere three miles away, Bolling was ambushed by machine guns. Bolling and his chauffeur jumped out of the vehicle into nearby foxholes. Col Bolling then killed a German officer who was shooting at his chauffeur. At that very moment, Col Bolling was shot through the heart. He is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished, humble and revered members of Greenwich and US Armed Forces.

Walking down Greenwich Avenue, past the Town’s impressive collection of monuments, residents, many carrying photos of relatives and friends who served in the military, proceeded to the World War I monument outside the historic post office, where wreathes were placed.

“Each of our veterans are a testimony to the unrelenting perseverance to protect each of our inalienable rights,” said First Selectman Peter Tesei.

After Stephanie Kies led the crowd in singing the National Anthem, State Rep Livvy Floren introduced the American Legion Young Person of the Year, GHS senior James Henry Martin Heavey who attended the event with his parents Kia and Jim Heavey, chief of the Greenwich Police Dept.

“We are always proud of the caliber and quality of the Greenwich students who are delegates to the annual program,” Floren said. “In addition to being elected by 200 peers at Boys State, he won the coveted Arthur Connell award as the person most representative of the values and virtues of our civic program – someone who contributed the most to its success.”

James is an Eagle Scout, an honor student and member of the National Honor Society, president of the GHS class of 2019, varsity athlete, team captain in track, and holder of a black belt in karate.


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Floren said James is pursuing an appointment to West Point.

“Public service, patriotism, leadership and civic participation are in this young man’s DNA,” Floren said.

US Navy veteran Dean Gamanos delivered the keynote speech outside the historic post office with its adjacent World War I monument.

Gamanos said that the act that precipitated World War I took place on June 28, 1914, when Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir of the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosinia by a Serbian national.

Members of the Cos Cob Riders a motorcycle club that includes several veterans at the patriotic walk on Greenwich Avenue, Veterans Day, Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

Members of the Cos Cob Riders a motorcycle club that includes several veterans at the patriotic walk on Greenwich Avenue, Veterans Day, Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

He said that during World War I an estimated nine million combatants and an additional seven million civilians lost their lives.

“It is sometimes referred to as the great war, but when you think about the destruction, the lives lost, the widows, the orphans, the starvation, and the suffering it caused, it really wasn’t great at all,” Gamanos said. “About 50 countries were involved all around the globe.”

West wall of the historic Armory on Mason Street. Veterans Day, Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

Gamanos said World War I was also called ‘the war to end all wars,’ but described that as a misnomer, adding that there have been many wars since then.

“WWI seems to be a distant memory today,” Gamanos said. “We hear a lot about WWII, Koren War, Vietnam, Afghanistan and others, and WWI has faded in the background, which is too bad.”

“The war had a significant impact on our world, on our country and even affected us here in Greenwich,” Gamanos said.

“Some Greenwich men and women would drill at the Armory, the historic building on Mason Street, and it is still there standing in their memory,” he said, referring to the Armory, built in 1911, a block away.

World War I monument at historic Post Office on Greenwich Avenue. Photo: Leslie Yager

Members of the Cos Cob Riders a motorcycle club that includes several veterans at the patriotic walk on Greenwich Avenue, Veterans Day, Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

Members of the Cos Cob Riders a motorcycle club that includes several veterans at the patriotic walk on Greenwich Avenue, Veterans Day, Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

Deputy Chief of Police Mark Marino, Regis Gmitter, John Szymanski, and Nils Mohrin at the patriotic community walk on Veterans Day, Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

The patriotic community walk on Veterans Day proceeded past Greenwich’s impressive collection of monuments. Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

Dean Gamanos

Dean Gamanos, Navy veteran and member of the Post 29 American Legion, in the community walk on Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

Explorers with Officers Hayes Sgaglio and Ericka Garcia at the Veterans Day patriotic community walk, Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

Butch Bozzuto and Walter Hughes with the GEMS honor guard, Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

Cathy Steel with her son William carried photos of Cathy’s grandfather Frank Miller who was a member of the Marines. Nov 11, 2018. Photo: Leslie Yager

Dancers from Allegra Dance Greenwich in the Veterans Day community walk. Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

Dancers from Allegra Dance Greenwich in the Veterans Day community walk. Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

Stephanie Dunn Ashley waves from the Cos Cob Fire Police Patrol truck. Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

Riding in antique cars, many veterans moved along Greenwich Avenue, past Greenwich's impressive collection of monuments. Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

Riding in antique cars, many veterans moved along Greenwich Avenue, past Greenwich’s impressive collection of monuments. Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

Butch Bozzuto and Walt Hughes led the GEMS high school explorers in the community walk down Greenwich Ave, Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

Cos Cob Riders, a motorcycle club who do charitable work in the community include veterans. Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

Cos Cob Riders, a motorcycle club who do charitable work in the community include veterans. Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

Cos Cob Riders, a motorcycle club who do charitable work in the community include veterans. Nov 11, 2018 Photo: Leslie Yager

See also:

Hamilton Avenue School Embraces Veterans & Active Service Men and Women

North Mianus School Showers Veterans with Gratitude in Event that Stems Back to 1938