PHOTOS: 2023 Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony

Prior to Memorial Day this year, it had been 10 years since New Canaan’s John McLane addressed a crowd that gathered to remember and honor our nation’s war dead. 

A U.S. Army captain in Vietnam, McLane observed in a keynote address during VFW Post 653’s annual Memorial Day ceremony held Monday in Lakeview Cemetery that “much has changed, not all for the better.”

“Today, divisions are growing,” McLane told more than 350 residents gathered at the cemetery on a sunny, breezy morning following the Memorial Day Parade. 

“Traditions and values are being called into question,” he continued. “Yet I would respectfully suggest that in the quiet, serene settings like this one all across America, citizens can still come together and feel a renewed sense of unity and purpose, harmony and hope. This is what makes today, Memorial Day, so special. We honor the people in New Canaan cemeteries, not for their fame and fortune, not for their achievements, but what they so generously gave: Their faithful service in, for some, their highest and last full measure of devotion.”

McLane called Memorial Day “the most expensive day on the calendar.”

“Throughout history, those who go into harm’s way have asked two questions,” he said. “First, will I die today?

‘Yoga To Support Our VFW’ Starts Sunday

John McLane simply hoped to be ignored when he returned from Vietnam in 1969. A U.S. Army captain during the Vietnam War, McLane remembers hearing about “the way guys were being treated” on returning to the United States as veterans. That poor treatment started to change about 30 or 35 years ago, McLane—a member of New Canaan’s local Veterans of Foreign Wars Howard M. Bossa and Peter C. Langenus Post 653—recalled Thursday. “And now it seems like people are really appreciative, maybe because the news media has changed or maybe because of all the movies and TV shows about guys at war,” he told “It’s true thanks, true concerns and it means a lot.”

Starting Sunday and leading up to Veterans Day on Friday, when the town’s ceremony will be held just after 10:45 a.m. at God’s Acre, the New Canaan community will have a unique opportunity to support its local veterans at VFW Post 653. 

“Yoga To Support Our VFW” will launch at 3:30 p.m. Sunday with a community class at St.

‘Make Sure That People Remember Them’: New Canaanites Launch ‘Yogis Support Our VFW Day’

New Canaan’s John McLane, a U.S. Army captain in Vietnam, joined a local VFW post soon after getting out of the military in 1969. But it was many years before McLane started attending VFW meetings or involving himself in other events of the organization. “Because I didn’t want to really think about it,” he said Wednesday morning. Then in 2012, he became active in the New Canaan-based Howard M. Bossa and Peter C. Langenus Post 653 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. 

He took up yoga that same year, and within a few years befriended fellow yogi and New Canaanite Margaret Roscoe. Daughter of a Civil War buff who spent family car trips visiting battle sites and feels strongly about the military and veterans, Roscoe was already an active volunteer for the VFW, which hands out poppies on two weekends each spring to honor the nation’s war dead.

‘It Is Not a Forgotten War’: New Canaan Remembers WWI During Veterans Day Observance

The Town Band led two parades in New Canaan on Nov. 11, 1918, the day the Allies of World War I signed an armistice with Germany to cease hostilities on the Western Front. Church bells had started ringing out at 3 a.m. that Monday in New Canaan, historians say, bonfires were lit and the townspeople burned Kaiser Wilhelm II in effigy. The war was over, signaling both the return of New Canaanites serving overseas and the end of deliberate austerity to support the Allies’ efforts. Food shortages had led to the launch of a Canning Club out of Center School’s kitchen.