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Time to Remember

Thomaston held a "Welcome Home Celebration" for the "boys and girls" on July 19, 1919. Although it was many months after the armistice, some called it a Victory Parade. The July date ensured time to plan the elaborate parade, warmer weather, and attendance by veterans from Thomaston and other Connecticut towns who had returned home. That the event was so well documented indicates its importance to Thomaston.

The Hartford Courant reported that the parade was a mile in length and featured the Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut as the keynote speaker. Factories and stores closed at noon so that all could attend "the greatest event the town has ever held." A banquet and dance in the Opera House for the service men and their invited family and friends followed the parade.

Commemorating World War I

Memorial Day 1920 Thomaston, CT

The Miss Columbia tradition on Memorial Day 1920.

"Miss Columbia" is a high school girl selected annually to distribute flowers on the pond from her rowboat in honor of the Naval dead. Thomaston's Memorial Day focused on Civil War soldiers until 1935, which was the first year that no Civil War veteran attended. However, the ceremony must have taken on a special meaning in the years immediately following World War I.  

Thomaston's Roll of Honor WWI Memorial

Thomaston's WWI Memorial includes the names of the men who served in the Army, Navy, and Marines, as well as the women who served as Red Cross and Army Nurses. The last names reflect Thomaston's ethnic diversity and a quotation by Woodrow Wilson at the bottom invokes their service to mankind.

Thomaston WWI Veterans Remembered

American Legion Post 22 formally remembered its World War I veterans in 2002. The Post is named after Clifford R. French, a World War I veteran. French was drafted and did not claim a medical exemption for his back issues because he was eager to serve. However, he died of meningitis at Camp Devens. His father, Ralph, was a superintendent at Plume & Atwood.