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 NewCanaanite.com. “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. Mark’s Morrill Hall, and all proceeds and donations made during the family-friendly yoga class will go to the VFW. Each successive day through Thursday will see a different yoga studio host a class where proceeds or donations or both will all go toward Post 653.
McLane and New Canaan resident Margaret Roscoe, who met as yoga practitioners and have long been friends, launched the awareness and fundraising effort last year. Roscoe had volunteered to support the VFW by selling poppies in town and collecting donations, but those efforts were both sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the organization without funds. The VFW organizes the Memorial Day Parade and ceremony, as well as the Veterans Day ceremony, and oversees the purchase and placement of flags and wreaths on the gravestones of vets interred in New Canaan.
“I know we all have big hearts and a lot to give, and this is a little way to recognize the small difference we can make in raising money for our local VFW, simply by making donations and showing up to class this one week leading up to Veterans Day,” Roscoe said. “It would really mean a lot.”
For McLane, the VFW’s efforts are not about veterans like him that survived.
“You do it for the guys that are not here,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to be quiet and think about things. It means a lot to have people show up at things like the Veterans Day service, and it means a lot when people after the [Memorial Day] Parade go ahead to the services at the cemetery, and not just have the party part of that day but also the serious part of it.”
Here’s a list of the Yoga To Support Our VFW sessions.
“Yoga is doing really well all over the country—we don’t need to worry about yoga,” Roscoe said. “What we need to worry about is remembering our veterans and making sure we support them.”
New this year is a QR Code to make it easy for those seeking to support the VFW (which also can be done here).
Roscoe noted that there’s room in the sessions for those in the community who are not part of a yoga studio. The Sunday class at Morrill Hall is “family-friendly and beginner-friendly,” she said.
“Bring the whole family,” Roscoe said.