INFORMATION

Contact Info

Danbury War Memorial
1 Memorial Dr
Danbury, CT 06810
Phone: (203) 743-3932
Email: Dan Hayes (Director)
dhayes@war-memorial.org

Directions

From New York
Interstate 84 - Exit 5
Straight through stop sign to traffic light
At light take right onto Main Street
Follow to end
Last light on Main Street straight into Rogers Park
War Memorial is the first building on left

From Hartford/New Haven
Interstate 84 - Exit 5
Take right at light onto Main Street
Follow to end
Last light on Main Street straight into Rogers Park
War Memorial is the first building on left



Monuments


Freedom Trees
The Five Freedom Trees were donated and planted by the Danbury Garden Club as part of the "Plant a Living Legacy Project", 1991 through 1995. The trees commemorate both the anniversary of the U.S. Bill of Rights and the ratification of the Constitution. They are living tributes to those who organized and defended our first government. The trees are monarch pears and white magnolias. The Danbury Garden Club has been in existence since 1952 and continues to promote an interest in horticultural and sponsor civic projects.

Memorial Trees 
The Steve Landry Tree
The first tree is dedicated in memory of Steve Landry (1960-1994). Landry was a graduate of Texas A&M University majoring in landscape architecture. During Steve's struggle with AIDS, his father, Chuck Landry, became a long-time benefactor of the AIDS Project of Greater Danbury. This organization donated and planted the tree so that the memory of Steve's life may live on. The AIDS Project of Greater Danbury is a non-profit organization founded in 1987. Its mission is to advocate for and provide supportive services to people living with HIV/AIDS, their families and loved ones.

The Bryon T. Johnson Tree
The second or middle tree is dedicated to Bryon T. Johnson (1915-1988), Danbury's Tree Warden for thirteen years during the 1970's and 80's. Johnson graduated from Danbury schools before attending the University of Massachusetts. He was involved in many civic activities and served as president of the Lion's Club and the local chapter of the American Red Cross. Johnson served in World War II with the Army Corp. of Engineers.

The Edward J. Crotty Tree
The third tree is dedicated to Edward J. "Copper" Crotty (1912-1988). Crotty, born in Danbury, was a graduate of Danbury High School and Notre Dame University. He taught and coached at the university level before returning to Danbury in 1947 as the High School's head football coach where he created a legacy of success that culminated in a 72-9-4 record upon his retirement in 1979. In addition to receiving numerous awards and recognitions for his dedication to the city's youth and athletics, Crotty also served as Director of Danbury's Parks and Recreation Department for 31 years.

The Historical Milestone
The Historical Milestone was originally placed in 1787 by Major William Taylor in front of his house which stood on the War Memorial grounds. In an attempt to recoup his fortune lost to battle in the Revolutionary War, Major Taylor converted his home into an Inn primarily for people traveling between New York and Hartford. This was a trip that could take three days at that time. As the milestone indicates, the Taylor Inn was nearly equidistant to both cities and must have been a welcome resting spot for weary travelers.

In 1951, Memorial Drive, the road leading through Roger's Park was built and the mile stone was removed to the yard of the Scott-Fanton Museum at 42 Main Street. Members of the Mary Wooster Chapter of The Daughters of the American Revolution found the Milestone several years later and erected it on the front lawn of the War Memorial building, several hundred feet east of its original site.

The Vietnam War Monument
In 1957, Communist-led guerrillas began a campaign of sabotage and assassinations in South Vietnam. American aide to South Vietnam increased through July 1965, when the first U.S. troops were sent into battle in what would be our country's longest war engagement in history. At the peak of conflict in the late 60's early 70's, 500,000 Americans, mostly 18 to 22 years old were involved in a fierce jungle war with the tenacious Vietcong (Vietnamese Communists) whose guerrilla tactics of sabotage and torture became notorious. Complete withdrawal of U.S. troops commenced in March 1973, only after more than 46,000 Americans and 250,000 Vietnamese lost their lives in a fight for freedom.

To honor the Vietnam veteran in general, and in particular to commemorate those killed or missing on action, New Fairfield Vietnam Veteran Marine Corporal Richard Cacace began efforts to plan, construct and dedicate a monument that would pay a lasting special tribute to the courage and compassion displayed by the U.S. forces in Vietnam. Five years later, at a dedication ceremony on May 29, 1988, the Vietnam War Memorial was unveiled.

Unlike most war monuments that celebrate the glory of war for freedom, this monument was designed and sculpted by George Koras as a statement of compassion - a monument to humanity - to acknowledge the Vietnam veteran in his or her role of protector and liberator of a people under scourge. As such, an eight foot tall bronze statue of a combat soldier stands at the top of the monument carrying a small child in one hand and an M-16 rifle in the other. It has been suggested that all observers should spend time looking into the combat soldier's eyes and facial expression, where the sculptor put most of the his efforts, to see the struggle in his heart that had all servicemen fighting a savage war while remaining humane and compassionate to those in need.

The six foot high granite base below holds a bronze plaque honoring Danbury-area veterans who died in combat or are missing in action. The right wing of the base features a medical evacuation scene, while the left wing depicts Vietnam service medals and a map of the country.

First Lieutenant Lee R. Hartell
This memorial commemorates Danbury's Lee R. Hartell, who was killed in battle in 1951 during the Korean War. For his bravery and courage, First Lieutenant Hartell was posthumously awarded The Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military recognition. He was the first and only Danbury Veteran to receive this prestigious award in the post-Civil War era.

During the darkness of early morning on August 27, 1951, the North Koreans launched a ruthless attack against Hartell's Company B of the 9th infantry Regiment on a rugged mountainous ridge near Kobangsan-ni. As a forward observer, Hartell directed crippling fire into the onrushing assailants. A large force of hostile troops swarmed up the slope in a banzai charge, advancing within ten yards of Hartell's position. Despite sustaining a severe hand wound in the encounter, the vastly outnumbered Hartell maintained his position and made radio contact with his Company. As the enemy advanced further, Hartell's final radio call relayed the position and size of the attack to the just moments before he was mortally wounded. The bravery and devotion that cost Hartell his life allowed Company B to stem the onslaught.

When Hartell's remains were returned to Danbury, the entire city observed a memorial hour. Schools and businesses were closed, flags were flown at half mast, and citizens paused in a respectful tribute. The memorial was originally placed on White Street's connector to Crosby Street, which was renamed Lee Hartell Drive. In 1997, with the permission of Hartell's widow, the memorial was moved to its place between the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials. Additionally, there is a photograph of Hartell prominently displayed in the lobby of the War Memorial building.

The Martin Rader Oak Tree
In 1965, Danbury Attorney Martin Rader was nominated as a delegate to the third Constitutional Convention in the state's history. Such conventions are held infrequently and have the potential power to change the constitution by which the state operates.

During the convention, Rader was presented with a seedling from Connecticut's original Charter Oak, the states most historic tree. Upon returning to Danbury, Rader presented the seedling to the Danbury Garden Club who nurtured it through the winter and planted the four foot sapling in the Spring of 1966.

The history of the original Charter Oak began in 1687 when Connecticut Governor Roger Treat received word from the King of England that Connecticut would be under siege if the state's charter was not surrendered immediately. Governor Treat called an assembly together and placed the Charter on the table. A debate regarding how to respond to the King continued until evening when candles were lit.

Suddenly the lights went out and during the confusion, Captain L.D. Wadsworth silently took the Charter and hid it in a hollow in the famous "Charter Oak tree". Two years later, the Charter was restored to the government and the process of freedom proceeded.

The Oak Tree plated here, a direct descendent of the famous Charter Oak, is symbolic of the strength and continued good government of the state of Connecticut.

The Korean War Monument
On June 25, 1950, Communist North Korean armed forces crossed the 38th parallel and invaded South Korea in a full scale war of aggression, determined to place the entire Korean peninsula under their control." Three years later a cost of more than 41,000 dead, missing in action or accounted for U.S. troops, an armistice was signed, establishing the boundary line between North and South Korea at the 38th Parallel, the point of the initial invasion.

This was the first time in history that the United States of America joined together with the other members of the Unites Nations Security Council to repel communist forces anywhere. By many accounts, this "forgotten war" was a war with unprecedented costs and importance in which we turned the tide against Communism.

To commemorate this tremendous sacrifice, and as a lasting expression of gratitude and pride, the Korean War Monument was dedicated on the front lawn of the War Memorial on July 25, 1993, the 40th Anniversary of the armistice which ended the conflict. At the dedication ceremony, the prevailing message among both the speakers and the audience was the Korean War veterans had not been recognized by the Danbury community for their service and sacrifices with an enduring symbol. To that end, the monument is the culmination of four and a half years of planning and construction coordinated by the Greater Danbury Area Korean War Veterans Committee at a final cost of $80,000.

Designed by local artist Mark Roy Swenson and sculpted by George Koras, the stone is made of polished India black granite. It was quarried in five individual sections at a total weight of 20,000 pounds. As you face the monument, the left wing contains the names of Danbury area military personnel killed or missing in action during the war.

The right wing contains a brief review and statistical sketch of the war. It is also adorned with replicas of the United Nations and Korean Service Medals as well as the emblems of the five United States military organizations that participated in the war.

The center pillar is 8 feet tall and is capped with a 54 inch bronze eagle resting on a half globe. An eagle was chosen because so many different types of people - soldiers, sailors, nurses, doctors - served in Korea that no one human figure could adequately honor all the various service personnel. Below the eagle on the center pillar, there is a three dimensional hand-etched map identifying towns and battle sites. All engraving on the monument was done through a technique called "skin frosting", which produced a white image on the black granite. A bronze dedication plaque is located directly in front of the center pillar.

 



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