[Note: This article has been updated to show that volunteers are asked to enter Lakeview Cemetery from the Lakeview Avenue entrance across from the Avalon apartments.]
Volunteers are wanted to assist VFW Post 653 in New Canaan to lay wreaths at the graves of deceased veterans at Lakeview Cemetery in order to honor and remember their service.
All are welcome to participate on Saturday, November 25, from 8 a.m. to 10 .m. at the Lakeview Cemetery on Main Street in New Canaan. Volunteers are asked to enter from Lakeview Avenue across from the Avalon apartments where they will find the VFW tent and ample parking off to the right in the large gravel area.
The annual effort is supported financially by the New Canaan Exchange Club, which provides the wreaths at cost, money raised from poppy sales over Memorial Day weekend and private donations. Post 653 uses fundraising proceeds to pay for wreaths and flags that are laid during the Christmas season and on Memorial Day on all known veterans’ graves at Lakeview and other cemeteries in New Canaan.
If you know of a recently deceased veteran buried in New Canaan or if you would like to contribute to the annual cost of purchasing 1,200 wreaths and bows, please contact Mike McGlinn at 203-962-1302 or email at Michael@mcglinnins.com.
Donations to the New Canaan VFW (a 501(c)3 non-profit) can be made via check to:
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 653
P.O. BOX 653
New Canaan, CT 06840
Or use the following link to Donate: https://vfwpost653.square.site.
On a cold night in late February 1921, a handful of young veterans of World War I met in New Canaan town hall to organize their newly chartered Veterans of Foreign Wars Post. At the time, it was one of the earliest Posts in Connecticut.
A century later, the Post, now known as the Howard M. Bossa and Peter C. Langenus Post 653, remains active in promoting and organizing civic and patriotic programs for New Canaan, including organizing and leading the annual Memorial Day Parade and ceremony at Lakeview, Veteran’s Day services at the Wayside Cross on God’s Acre and the placing of flags and wreaths on the almost 1,200 graves of veterans in New Canaan’s many cemeteries.
Today, the Post is led by Francis “Mike” McGlinn as Commander. Serving with him are Aaron Hall Senior Vice Commander, John Kowalski, Quartermaster, Paul Gjuraj, Junior Vice Commander, Brian Van der Heyden, Chaplin, and three Trustees, Leon Krolikowski, Frank Gallo and Scott Barnard. The Post meets at the Masonic Lodge at 231 Main Street on the second Tuesday each month at 7PM.
McGlinn, who served as an Artillery Officer during the Vietnam War, said, “The VFW never forgets a veteran and we will continue to honor and respect all veterans, living and deceased, here in New Canaan. Our community projects help strengthen the respect for the flag and honor all our local deceased veterans with a wreath at Christmas, and a flag at Memorial Day, on every veteran gravesite. Being a member of the VFW is an honor, and the members share a special bond because of their combat experience.”
The Post is named after two of New Canaan’s most celebrated veterans – Howard M. Bossa, a standout athlete at New Canaan High School who died in 1918 while serving in the U. S. Army in World War I; and Peter C. Langenus, a veteran of both the Vietnam War and Desert Storm and long-time community leader with the VFW and Boy Scouts. Col. Langenus was the commander of Post 653 until he passed away in 2020.
The VFW traces its roots to 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection formed local organizations to assist them in securing medical care and other benefits. The main veteran’s group at the time, the Grand Army of the Republic, catered exclusively to Civil War veterans. These independent groups banded together in 1914 to form the VFW which received a congressional charter in 1936. Today, there are 1.6 million VFW and Auxiliary members located in 6,200 Posts worldwide.