DARIEN — For many, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War are events experienced in history books. For many of the members of the Darien Men’s Association, these wars were experienced firsthand.

On a hot spring morning at the Darien Community Association, 21 members of the Men’s Association were honored with the Connecticut Wartime Service Medal for their service.

The Connecticut Wartime Service Medal is presented to veterans who served at least 90 days of wartime service before being honorably discharged.

According to Men’s Association President Scott Hutchason, this is the first time Darien veterans were honored with such an award.

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Recipients of the Connecticut Wartime Service Medal

John Barston, 95, Darien

John Bartlett, 74, Darien

William Bellis, 87, Darien

Richard Constable, 90, Darien

John Davidson, 72, Darien

Thomas Dunn, 84, Darien

Alexander Garnett, 71, Darien

John Geoghegan, 92, Darien

Stephen Gravereaux, 75, Norwalk

Kent Haydock, 91, Darien

John Hess Jr., 70, Darien

Frank Johnson, 85, Stamford

Gerrit Lydecker, 87, Stamford

Albert Metayer, 89, Darien

Charles Scribner, 93, Darien

Edward Spurgeon, 86, Darien

Lawrence Story, 78, Darien

Howard Thompson, 85, Darien

Peter Wells, 78, New Canaan

Thomas Williams, 86, Darien

John Wolcott, 73, Darien

“We are honored to recognize our veterans,” he said. “These people qualified years ago, but we haven’t done anything before now.”

Lt. Col. Sean Connolly, commissioner of the state Department of Veteran Affairs and speaker at the event, pointed out how fitting it was to be giving out these awards in Darien. Darien was the home of the first veterans home in the country, founded by Benjamin Fitch after the Civil War.

“He made a promise and that promise was to take care of veterans when they came home,” said Connolly, who oversees the Veterans Home in Rocky Hill. “If they didn’t come home, he would take care of their families. We’re extremely proud here in Connecticut to be the first veterans home and to build on that mission.”

Connolly, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, presented the medals to the honorees, who ranged in age from 70 to 95. World War II veterans were also presented with a special coin for their service.

“It’s unexpected,” said Dick Constable, 90, who served for two years in the military police in Frankfurt, Germany, during World War II. Constable, a Darien resident since 1962, helped direct traffic across the Rhine River during his time in the service.

“It brings back memories,” he said. “I can hardly believe it happened to me.”

ekayata@hearstmediact.com; @erin_kayata