Memorial Day Weekend Guide; What’s Open & Closed

The Memorial Day Parade will start at 9:30 a.m. on Monday followed by the annual public ceremony in Lakeview Cemetery. Lifelong New Canaan resident Brian Vander Heyden—U.S. marine and Vietnam War veteran—will be a guest speaker. The Rev. Robert Kinnally from Saint Aloysius Catholic Church will officiate as clergy. Town Hall is closed Monday. If you’re a business owner and want us to add your information to our list here, please email your hours for Saturday, Sunday and Monday to editor@newcanaanite.com. Quick reminder: The VFW Post 653 at 8 a.m. on Saturday at Lakeview Cemetery will lead an effort to place new flags beside the grave stones of fallen servicemen and women buried in New Canaan.

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.

Memorial Day with Sandra (Conner) Lefler: ‘I Think About Them Every Day’

The last time New Canaan’s Sandra Lefler (née Conner) saw her brother, Creighton Conner, was Memorial Day weekend in 1966, here in town. Creighton, a 1960 New Canaan High School graduate who excelled in academics as well as sports, had earned a bachelor’s degree in American Literature from Middlebury College, then joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps and went to Vietnam for two years, where he served as second lieutenant. Though the war had become very unpopular, Sandra recalled, the siblings’ grandfather William B. Conner—the man for whom Conner Field off of Farm Road (just below what is now Saxe Middle School) is named—told Creighton “to be an example for the rest of the kids and march in the parade, which my brother did.”

“My mother and I watched him and we kept running around from every corner on Main Street—you know how there are all those side streets off of Main?—because he looked so great in his uniform,” Sandra, two years younger than Creighton, recalled from a living room sofa at the Douglas Road home she shares with her husband of nearly 47 years, Mark—it’s not far from the house where she and Creighton grew up, on Oak Street up near the corner of South Avenue. “He marched in the parade down to the cemetery. He looked so handsome.