Heroes live quietly among us in Westport; here are some

The other day, I met Ben Pepper. He has lived in Westport since 1958. I moved here as a child with my parents two years ago. Yet in nearly 70 years, I had never heard his name.

what a shame. He is a wonderful person. Five months shy of 100 years old, he still lives — alone — off North Avenue in the house he and his wife, Frances, built when Eisenhower was president.

Mirch spent his professional career as a photographer. He also owned two liquor stores; His wife ran the Kiddie Closet children’s clothing store in Norwalk. The couple helped build Temple Israel on Colleytown Road.

In all my years here, I remembered more than the name Ben Pepper. I also remembered his stories.

A paratrooper in World War II, he received a Purple Heart at the Battle of the Bulge. A soldier sharing his fox was killed alongside him.

Pepper would have been part of D-Day – and probably wouldn’t have survived – but she broke her back in the previous jump. And en route to the Ardennes Forest, he survived a plane crash in England.

I could be forgiven for not knowing Pepper’s story, since until now she hasn’t shared it publicly. Although Westport’s Memorial Day parade has long honored World War II veterans — and, as their numbers dwindle, each year’s ceremony becomes more impressive — he chose not to participate. is He never marched, or rode in a convertible. It’s not just chili style.

Also Read :  White Christmas Forecast: Places That Could See Snow This Holiday

Sitting at home with my son and daughter-in-law, finally telling him those stories — and seeing his Purple Heart and dog tags, which he proudly carries, among other mementos of the war — I realized how much It is important for Westport to recognize its heroes. Even if they stay away from recognition.
We do this every year on Memorial Day. Now that Korean War veterans — even those who served in Vietnam — are reaching a certain age, it’s more important than ever for younger generations to look up to them. I remember my father describing the impact of seeing Civil War vets marching in their own Memorial Day celebrations. It shows how young we really are. Yet it also reinforces the notion that we should never forget our past.

Today’s youth should look up to and respect heroes of all kinds. Heroes are everywhere. However, we do not always point them to the youth, who should be inspired and uplifted by them.

Another Westporter name I never knew caught my eye recently as well. Martin Rosenfeld has died at the age of 95. He lived in Westport from 1998 to 2021. During that time he and his wife Martha donated more than 16,000 volunteer hours to Norwalk Hospital. He helped patients, visitors and staff in the ambulatory surgical waiting room – a stressful place for all, but one he made less anxious day by day and year by year.

Also Read :  Tireless Modric ready for last World Cup run with Croatia

Martin and Martha found a home in a Conservative synagogue. Surrounded by a young community with young children, he jumped right in.
The couple assisted in the office. They polished silver on Torah scrolls, and provided Passover seders for people without local families.

At age 70, Martin learned to read the Torah for the first time. By the time the pandemic turned synagogue services to Zoom, he was the synagogue’s best reader. He and his wife were also enthusiastic participants in adult education programs, inspiring other attendees.

These are the Westport facts of Martin Rosenfeld’s life. His back story is also interesting. Like Ben Pepper, a Bronx (and also DeWitt Clinton High School) native, he served in World War II. He then attended Yale University, where he majored in Japanese.

How many more interesting people live and walk among us, whose stories we don’t hear until – or finally – it’s too late? What about the men and women who grew up during the Depression, who fought for their country (and saved the world), then went on to lead quiet suburban lives, finding time to raise families, build community, and Never asked for praise. Or even a pat on the back?

Also Read :  Qatar 2022: World Cup fans acclimatize to desert accommodation -- in tents and portacabins

My generation – the Baby Boomers – followed suit. We were all about ourselves. We had numbers and power, and we used both. We thought we were doing the right thing by the planet, but we don’t shy away from the spotlight either.

Later generations have become even more self-absorbed. Young adults – even teenagers – today burnish their personal brands. They live their lives publicly on multiple social media platforms. Smartphones and TV cameras are almost extensions of their bodies.

On television and movie screens, on Facebook and Instagram and TikTok, everyone seems to be a hero these days. As Ben Pepper and Martin Rosenfeld prove, heroes quietly live among us.

Even though we don’t know their names.

Dan Woog is a Westport writer, and his “Woog’s World” appears every Friday. He can be reached at [email protected] His personal blog is danwoog06880.com.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button