PHOTOS: New Canaanites Gather at God’s Acre, Town Hall To Honor U.S. Military Veterans

More than 200 people, many in uniform, gathered at God’s Acre a crisp, sunny morning Friday for New Canaan’s Veterans Day ceremony. Led by VFW Post 653 Commander Peter Langenus, a U.S. Army captain in Vietnam who also served as a colonel during Operation Desert Storm, the ceremony included remarks from Desert Storm veteran and Saxe Middle School educator Christopher Cogswell as well as First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and Lisa Melland, regent of the Hannah Benedict Carter Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, presentation of the flag by the New Canaan Police Department Color Guard, a tolling of the bells in First Congregational Church by Linda Avgerinos and a reading of the poem “In Flanders Field” as well as the names of New Canaan veterans who have passed in the past year (full list below). Cogswell, a third-generation New Canaanite and ’86 NCHS grad who works as a special needs assistant and recess supervisor, in his remarks opened a discussion about what he called “two words that are a common virtue in all of us, ‘uncommon valor.’ ”

“The meaning of these words usually starts with an oath or a pledge: ‘I do solemnly swear,’ or ‘on my honor,’ ” Cogswell said, standing at a podium in front of the Wayside Cross, a monument to World War I veterans that was erected in 1923 at the foot of God’s Acre. “In combat I learned that uncommon valor was a common virtue. Real heroes are the quiet men and women of action and duty.

VIDEO, PHOTOS: Hundreds Gather in Downtown New Canaan for Re-Routed Memorial Day Parade, Annual Ceremony

Memorial Day Parade 2016
Uploaded by Michael Dinan on 2016-05-30. A person’s sense of accountability defines him or her, hard work and mastery of complex things is a virtue, be a professional and war is not glorious, though those who fight beside one another are—these are the four great lessons that William Ruoff carries with him on knowing, observing and serving with U.S. Armed Forces veterans. As a midshipman first-class in his senior year at the U.S. Naval Academy, the New Canaan resident recalled Monday, he applied for consideration to make submarines his warfare specialty following graduation. “To enter that specialty, I first had to interview with Adm. Hyman G. Rickover, the director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program and father of the modern nuclear submarine force,” Ruoff told the crowd of locals gathered outside the northern entrance to Town Hall following an abbreviated Memorial Day Parade downtown.

Did You Hear … ?

The alpacas of Crajah House on Oenoke Ridge Road on Tuesday were shorn of their thick winter coats—see photos above. Their owner, New Canaan’s Debbie McQuilkin, tells us the process for each “blanket” includes picking out sticks, hay and straw, then going for the secondary areas of the neck, backside and legs. The material is sent to a fiber mill where it’s washed, cleaned again and dyed or made into a yarn that McQuilkin herself chooses—fine knitting or heavy weaving for rugs. It also can be sent back for hand spinning or felting, McQuilkin said. The alpaca fleece is hypoallergenic and contains no lanolin, and it’s naturally fire-resistant.