Archive for March 30, 2011

Danbury Soldiers’ Monument

April 12, 2011 will mark the opening engagement of the Civil War. This bombardment of Fort Sumter by the Confederate forces took place in 1861 so this year marks the one hundred and fifthieth anniversary of the conflict. Danbury had a major role in the conflict and this role is acknowledged by the Soldiers’ Monument which is just outside the Danbury Library at the intersection of Main and West Streets. This beautiful monument is the earliest instance of a Connecticut town proposing to create a memorial of this type. Planning actually started in 1862 with optimism that the war would soon be over. Seventeen female inhabitants organized a “Monumental Association” and raised funds for the statue. Their plans did not reach fruition until May 27, 1880 when the formal dedication of the monument took place. Next time you visit the library be sure to pause and look at this beautiful monument and what it represents. It has two beautiful inscriptions on it: Front (east face): TO OUR BROTHERS, BELOVED, HONORED, REVERED, WHO DIED THAT OUR COUNTRY MIGHT LIVE.

Yves Congar

While watching an extraordinary documentary that the library has on the First World War I was struck by a segment on the German occupation of Belgium in 1914. The documentary mentions the name of a young boy (ten years old) named Yves Congar. He was told by his mother to keep a journal on the occupation. He did so and produced a document with his own illustrations which is a very vital record of what happened to the people of Belgium. The boy suffered from hunger and the deportation of his father as a hostage. I knew I had heard this name before so I researched it and realized who the boy became. He became a priest in 1925 and became one of the seminal theologians of the era. In World War Two he served as a chaplain in the French Army and was a prisoner of war for five years. He was one of the driving forces behind the reforms of the Catholic Church by the Second Vatican Council.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

A wee bit of Irish wit and wisdom:
A wise woman is better than a foolish doctor.
If you want praise, die, if you want blame, marry.
The old person is a child twice.
Men are like bagpipes–no sound comes from them until they’re full.
Neither a lawbreaker nor a lawmaker be. There is naught but unease in either occcupation.
A heart should always be big enough to safely enfold all of one’s friends and family; a house should be too small to hold them all.
For more Irish proverbs consult Of Irish Ways or The Book of Celtic Wisdom.

Local Memoir

The library recently was fortunate enough to obtain a copy of a memoir by a Danburian named Robert Keeler Reynolds. The book is entitled What a Life! Footprints in the Sands of Time. Bob Reynolds is a regular library user who has written a charming series of stories about his life. He has lived in Danbury since 1946 and is a graduate of Andover and Yale. He worked in the hatting industry for fifteen years and then as an industrial consultant. He was a pilot in World War Two and subsequently served in the reserves. To show you that he has his priorities straight he writes about what he would do if he won the Powerball jackpot: “First on my list would be a gift of $ 1 million to the Danbury Public Library, one of the city’s greatest assets.”