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Vets Monument Spruced Up

Darien volunteers come out to Spring Grove Veterans Cemetery Sunday morning to honor those buried there by planting flower bulbs along the traffic circle. Their work was part of the revitalization of the Veterans Memorial Flagpole Monument, a project spearheaded by the Darien Police Department and VFW .

"We're planting 2,184 daffodil bulbs, one for every soldier buried here," Officer Court Isaac said. The bulbs were donated by Nielsen's Florist and Garden Shop, and the landscaping is being done with the help of Mickels Landscaping. Dennis Smith from Darien Electric donated lights that will illuminate the daffodils. Volunteers from the Darien Fire Department, the Boy Scouts and nearby high schools pitched in with the planting.

The cemetery is across the street from the Police Station on Hecker Avenue. Isaac said the police took on the project as a way to honor the vets buried there and to maintain the historical significance of the cemetery and the monument.

"This was the first veterans cemetery in the state of Connecticut. It's one of only three in the state," Isaac said. "There are guys buried here who fought in the Civil War and the Spanish-American War."

The monument was sculpted in 1936 by Karl Lang, a Darien resident who worked with Gutzon Borglum on Mount Rushmore. The revitalization project includes cleaning the monument and planting daffodils along the cross-shaped traffic circle as well as planting boxwoods and white alliums around the memorial.

The landscaping was designed by Darien architect Leslie MacAuley. "It feels good," she said. "It's nice to see so many people coming together and making this work." She added that the project needs additional funds so that dogwoods and hollies can be planted around the monument and at the cemetery entrance.

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