World War II

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PHOTOS: New Canaanites Who Died While Serving in World War II

Since creating a memorial walk dedicated to New Canaanites who perished during World War II in 2003 in Mead Park, town resident Jim Bach, a Korean War veteran, has spearheaded efforts to improve the visibility and appearance of this town landmark. Those efforts have included re-planting of trees along the “Gold Star Walk,” creating a second footbridge to extend it and installing a new walkway and map—and a venerable nonprofit organization now is offering to help Bach preserve the memorial, which features a plaque listing names of the 38 men who died during the war (see gallery above for information on the servicemen). The memorial has stood for more than 10 years, and Bach—a 1947 New Canaan High School graduate who served as a U.S. Army sergeant from 1952 to 1954—said he wants to add some finishing touches, to ensure its longevity. “I want to see it done, it was part of my life a long time ago and it kept me out of trouble at one time,” Bach said. “The final thing that I wanted to get done with the memorial is to put in a bridge across the main stream that enters the park, on the west side of the garage. Continue Reading →

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Soldier, Writer, World Traveler, Guy Who Brought Home That Grenade: Meet Patrick Smith

As soon as we jumped into No Man’s Land, the German machine guns crackled out and a row of men went down like corn. As they went down, another row of men took their place. And on and on we went toward the German line, 750 yards away. —Patrick Smith’s personal papers, Jan. 21, 1921

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New Canaan’s Patrick Smith was 46 when he applied to join the U.S. war effort on Sept. Continue Reading →

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Discarded Treasure: NCHS Class of ’39 Yearbook Turns Up at Dump

New Canaan’s Steve Benko was at the Transfer Station making his regular Saturday morning dump run on a recent weekend, when one of the guys who works there flagged him down. Someone had been discarding books into the bin there, Benko learned, and one of them was an old New Canaan High School yearbook that had his own (Benko’s) father pictured in it. “It was pretty neat,” Benko, New Canaan’s longtime recreation director, said on a recent afternoon from his office at Waveny House. “It was fun. He told me somebody was throwing out books and he saw this one, thought I may want it.”

He was right. Continue Reading →

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Keeping Up the ‘Gold Star Walk’: Citizen-Led Campaign for Little-Known World War II Memorial Path at Mead Park

Standing at what is perhaps the least-traversed edge of Mead Pond on a recent morning, town native Jim Bach, a 1947 New Canaan High School graduate who served as a U.S. Army sergeant from 1952 to 1954, picks lichen from the branch of an apple tree whose trunk is twisted in prickly weeds. “I don’t know what this stuff is, and you see how the vines have grown up?” Bach said on this cool, clear December day. “That shouldn’t be. That is the lack of maintenance, and a lot of those lower branches should be taken off and also, you know, it has gotten spindly too. That’s the attention that these types of trees need.”

Dedicated at the close of World War II to the 38 New Canaan men who lost their lives while serving during the war, the area dubbed “Gold Star Walk” starts just inside the gate at Mead Park’s entrance and runs along the eastern and northern edges of the pond. Continue Reading →

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