As Veterans Day approaches, resident recalls WWII service

All veterans invited to luncheon at Milford Senior Center

Veteran's Day is the day to honor all American veterans, those living and dead. This is the day to thank living veterans for their loyalty and dedication to service for their country.

One of those servicemen, long time Milford resident,Jim Merrill, is among the men who exhibited passion and devotion to the United States Navy during World War II. With 1,000 World War II veterans dying each day, Merrill is becoming part of an exclusive club, so to speak.

The fire of patriotism arrived as a lightning bolt for Merrill following a radio announcement that began, “This is a day that will live in infamy.”

“I was in college December 7th, 1941, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's announcement of the bombing of Pearl Harbor came over the radio. It upset me so much, I left college immediately with intents to eventually join the service and do my bit for the war.”

Following a courtship and marriage to Alice Cecarelli, a draft notice arrived and Merrill reported to the draft board. The newly married couple were together just six months when they were forced to continue their marriage separately.  At the  local draft board Merrill was offered a choice of Army, Navy, Marine or Coast Guard. He chose the Navy.

Following boot camp, Merrill found himself stationed at the naval station at Norfolk, Va., where the largest concentration of Navy forces in the world is located. Here is where he inspected damaged planes that arrived daily from aircraft carriers.

Merrill has accomplished a great deal during his 91 years on this planet. He was a husband for more than 60 years, and father of two children, Jan Merrill Oldham and James Wallace Merrill. His wife Alice and daughter Jan are deceased.

Merrill has been passionately devoted to veterans and has been associated with Post 34 for many years. He has been a Mason, carpenter, veteran's advocate, and a member of The First United Church of Christ, where he has served in many capacities during his lifetime.

Merrill is well known in Milford for his community involvement and readiness to pitch in wherever and whenever necessary. He also is an active member at the Milford Senior Center.

In honor of Veteran's Day, the Milford Senior Center at 9 Jepson Drive, will all Milford servicemen and women, Friday, November 8, at 12:15 p.m. with a luncheon.

People may RSVP 203-877-5131.