Wilton honors its veterans on Friday

This year marks the 98th anniversary of the end of World War I, and Wilton’s American Legion post — named for a native son who gave his life in that conflict — will present the town’s annual Veterans Day parade.

James B. Whipple American Legion Post 86 invites all veterans and the community to attend the parade on Friday, Nov. 11. Led by a police honor guard, veterans will step off from Wilton Library at 10:15 and march to the Veterans Memorial Green on Center Street, where a short program will take place beginning at 10:30. Marine Capt. Chris Ladd will be the guest speaker. He will be joined by Post Cmdr. Don Hazzard, state Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26), and state Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143). Second Selectman Mike Kaelin will read a proclamation from the town.

After the ceremony, veterans are invited to attend special programs marking the holiday at Wilton High School, Middlebrook School and Our Lady of Fatima School. For information on this, call Tom Moore at 203-918-3767 or email  legionpost86@gmail.com.

Whipple, who hailed from South Wilton, was Wilton’s first casualty in what was then known at the Great War, the war to end all wars. He was killed in action on June 4, 1918. Wilton lost another soldier, Charles R. Frederickson, from the Georgetown section of Wilton, on Oct. 15, 1918.

In all, 100 Wilton men and women served in some way during World War I. It was the first time Wilton women were able to serve in some recognized capacity during wartime.

According to Bob Russell’s book Wilton, Connecticut, Wiltonians served not only in the military but also with the Red Cross and YMCA. The Red Cross chapter organized women who knitted sweaters, mufflers and mittens and also sent helmets and bandages. One woman, Anne Hardon of Wilton Center, served more than two years with the Red Cross and traveled to France, where she stayed well beyond the war’s end in 1918. The YMCA ran canteens, in which several people participated, among other services.

School observances

Several Wilton schools will have special holiday programs.

Miller-Driscoll will observe Veterans Day with a sing-along for staff and students at 9:30 and Middlebrook will hold a ceremony.

Cider Mill will welcome veterans to its annual Veterans Day Remembrance Ceremony as part of the History Channel’s Take a Vet to School Day program, which originated at the elementary school nine years ago. In past years, videos on the history of Veterans Day have been shown, veterans have shared their stories, and the school’s choruses, orchestra and band have performed patriotic songs.

The high school’s annual Veterans Day assembly, from 1:10 to 2:11, will provide an opportunity for the school community to recognize the courageous sacrifices made by veterans to support and protect the United States.

Weir Farm

Although its buildings are closed for the season, Weir Farm National Historic Site will open on Friday to observe Veterans Day. The site is open to all, but military veterans and their families are particularly invited to visit the park. This is the first time the park on Nod Hill Road has opened for such an occasion.

Staff will be on hand to let visitors into J. Alden Weir’s restored home and the art studio for informal tours. Art supplies will also be on hand for anyone who would like to partake of some plein air drawing or painting on the park grounds.

“Any veteran who visits will receive a gift from the site to thank them for their service,” said Park Ranger Kristin Lessard. She said each veteran will receive an illustrated history of the farm and a National Park Service pin.

The visitor center will be open its regular hours of 10 to 4.

Although the buildings are closed until May, the park grounds are open with many self-guided options.

Flu shots

American Family Care (AFC) will offer military veterans free flu shots on Veterans Day. The announcement is an extension of AFC’s effort to promote flu prevention in the United States and comes on the heels of the company’s annual National Flu Prevention Week campaign.

The nearest AFC Urgent Care clinic is at 607 Main Avenue in Norwalk. It is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For information, call 203-845-9100.