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Darien Honors Memorial Day Grand Marshal

This year's Memorial Day Parade, starting at Goodwives Shopping Plaza at 10 a.m. Monday, May 30, will culminate in a special ceremony at the beautiful and newly landscaped Soldier's Monument in the Connecticut Veterans Cemetery. Everyone is welcome to participate in this event honoring our soldiers.

We are honored to have Bill Flanagan, who served the Navy in World War II and the Darien community so well, to be our grand marshal. Born and raised in South Orange, N.J., William K. Flanagan Jr. attended public elementary and junior high schools in South Orange and graduated from Columbia High School in Maplewood, N.J., in June 1944. Just before graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and received his boot camp training at Sampson Naval Training Center near Geneva, N.Y. He was then assigned to the 144th Naval Construction Battalion A.B.C.D. (Advance Base Construction Depot) and was sent to the South Pacific. While on the island of Guam, he competed for and was selected to attend officer training in the U.S. and was sent to the University of Mississippi for his freshman year of college. He was honorably discharged in June 1945 and received his bachelor's degree from Brown University in June 1949.

While at Brown, he was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, the Brown Glee Club and the cross country track team. After graduating from Brown with a history degree, he attended Rutgers Law School, was a member of the Law Review, was the first president of the local chapter of the international legal fraternity of Phi Delta Phi and received his bachelor of laws degree in May 1952. He was admitted to the New Jersey Bar in December 1952 and to the New York Bar in 1988.

His legal career included five years of trial work with his father, William K. Flanagan, who was regarded as one of the outstanding trial lawyers in New Jersey. In March 1957, he joined International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (later renamed ITT Corp.) as the assistant general counsel and assistant secretary of a wholly owned ITT subsidiary in Clifton, N.J. In  March 1987, he took early retirement as assistant general counsel and director of legal services, completing a 30-year career with ITT. From 1989 to 1993, he was also the associate general Counsel of Walsh Construction Co. in Trumbull.

He has served the town of Darien for more than 12 years, for one year on the RTM , and then eight years on the Planning and Zoning Commission , including two years as its chairman. He also served three to four years on the Monuments and Ceremonies Commission . In 1997, he was endorsed by the Republican Town Committee as its candidate for first selectman but lost by 68 votes in a primary contest with Robert Harrel. He has been active in the Darien Senior Men's Association and served as its president from 2000 to 2001.

In recognition of his outstanding service to the Darien community, he received on May 9, 2006, a Certificate of Appreciation from the Darien United Way and the Volunteer Center of Southwestern Fairfield County.

His first wife, Lynn DeCesare, died in 1990.  In 1999, he married Anne La Ferte Meyjes and together they have eight children and 15 grandchildren.

What do you think of Bill Flanagan being named the Memorial Day Grand Marshal? Tell us what you think in the comments below, on Facebook and on Twitter .

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