Conn. man fights for veterans' names to be displayed publicly

On the 72nd anniversary of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, one Connecticut Army veteran is fighting for his hometown to properly and publicly display all the names of the veterans who hailed from the town and fought – and sometimes died – in America’s wars.

The Connecticut Post reports Eric Muth, of Milford, has been on this mission for more than 25 years, and shows no sign of slowing.

Reportedly at issue is a variety of injustices ranging from the correct name of the building that currently holds the plaques on which are inscribed the town’s veterans, to the public's minimal access to this building, to a just and prominent location of those plaques, to the creation of new monuments for town veterans who served in the Gulf and Afghanistan.

Currently, he told The Post, only the World War I memorial in front of City Hall, erected in 1928, shows a comprehensive accounting of those town residents who fought in that war.

The town’s other memorials, like those dedicated to World War II, Korea and Vietnam, do not depict the names of the veterans who served in those conflicts. Those memorials are located on the Milford Green, a tree-lined swatch near the center of town.

If one wanted to see the names of those wars’ veterans from Milford, Muth told The Post they would have to go to an auditorium that is alternately known by two names, or the, “Milford Memorial Auditorium,” and the, “City of Milford Veterans Memorial.”

“The sign on the outside should read, ‘Veterans Auditorium,’” Muth told the paper, adding the building is typically closed to the public such that people can only see the plaques, “provided you can find someone who had the key.

“Usually, they’re behind locked doors where no one can see them, unless there’s something going on in the auditorium.”

Muth has petitioned town officials to relocate the plaques pertaining to each of America’s wars to the base of their corresponding memorial on the Milford Green, according to The Post.

But he said he was told in reply the flagpole erected on the Milford Green in 1954 already provides just remembrance to the town’s veterans.

“Not so,” he reportedly said. “The flagpole was erected in memory of the fallen, not all veterans.”

Muth is referring to the marble stone at the base of the flagpole that depicts the names of Milford residents who died in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Notably absent are those who had the good fortune to come home.

Some would wonder why he is troubling himself so, but it’s a worthy task in Muth’s mind – and one devoted to men such as 95-year-old Milfordite Jack Stoeber, who – when the Japanese came roaring over Pearl Harbor in 1941 -- grabbed an anti-aircraft gun and fired back into the sky. “I felt pretty good about that,” Stoeber told The Post at the 2012 dedication of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge in New Haven.

And even if the town complies with Muth’s desire to re-locate the auditorium veterans’ plaques to the public memorials, he said there still would be plenty of work to be done to make sure everyone got their just due.

He told The Post there should also be plaques for the town’s residents who served in the Revolutionary and Civil wars. “After that,” he reportedly added, “the community needs to begin assembling names of those who served in our wars in the Middle East.”

Click here to read more from the Connecticut Post.