December 13, 2019
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The Original Intent

Published May 29, 2019

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Regarding the May 16 front page article “It’s Official: Vote Names ‘Joe Trapasso Community House Honoring Branford World War II Veterans’,” the Community House should be named The Memorial Building WWII. This was the original intent of town leaders.

In 1946, at the motion of World War II veteran Frank Kinney, town officials agreed a community house, when built, be named The Memorial Building WW2 in honor of the 36 Branford boys killed in action (KIA). This is memorialized in a 1946 town report. The Community House was built in 1963. It was given no name.

In the 1970s, after World War I veteran Howard Young advised then-first selectman John Sliney of the 1946 agreement, Mr. Sliney held a ceremony that named the Community House building Memorial Building WW2 in memory of the 36 KIA.

At the ceremony, I met the mother of James Barba, who told me how pleased she was that her son would be remembered.

Also, First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove’s contention that the intent was to recognize the contributions of Trapasso to the community and beyond, but certainly not to put Trapasso, as a veteran, above any World War II veteran, is disingenuous. Naming the building after one man automatically elevates his status, while diminishing the sacrifices of the Branford boys who gave their lives for our country.

I knew Joe. He was a great and humble man who brought national renown to Branford with the Community House.

As a World War II veteran, I doubt Joe would want his name on the Community House building. Ours is a generation that doesn’t seek individual recognition for our service.

To honor Joe’s contributions, there might be a full-size, six-foot bronze statue at the front entrance. That way, he could still be part of the Community House building without compromising the original intent of town leaders.

Vinnie Thomas