Memorial Day was started as Decoration Day by President Lincoln to honor those soldiers who died in battle to preserve our country. The last Monday was chosen for the plentiful flowers in bloom during May. In 1971 it became an official National Holiday.

Each year, the Y’s Men proudly design, build and contribute a float to the Westport Memorial Day Parade. We do this as a gift to the Town of Westport and it citizens young and old. We aim to educate and to enlighten the viewers about those who died during a specific battle or war.

In recent years we have portrayed Iwo Jima, Washington’s Crossing, WWI Trench Warfare, Lincoln’s meeting with Generals, the Normandy Invasion, the signing of surrender aboard the USS Missouri in 1945 ending WWII, a US patrol in Korea, the Vietnam War Memorial, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, WWII Merchant Marine ship going down, a Flyboy’s WWI biplane, and the creation of our National Anthem during the battle for Baltimore’s Fort McHenry. Each of these floats won the Best Overall Float awarded by the Town.

Like producing a play or movie, these efforts require a large cast of contributors. The process starts in late Fall or early winter with a brain storming session to zero in on a short list of possible ideas. Then our artist and engineers develop a drawing to capture the idea. This drawing is converted into a set of building plans and then the construction begins. Meanwhile the sound track is designed, edited and perfected. Actors are then chosen and costumes ordered and assembled. A dress rehearsal on the weekend prior to Memorial Day brings all the components together. Then on the Saturday prior to Memorial Day the completed subassemblies and sound equipment are taken to a local construction garage and mounted on a flatbed to be towed around the Parade route on Memorial Day. In recent years an honor guard works the parade crowd – handing out descriptions of the float and its purpose.

If you are interested in helping or learning more contact:

Contact: Baxter Urist

or Ys Men 1st Vice President, responsible for creating float committee Bruce Borner

Credits (Photos appear below the credits)


The annual float tradition honors all military and nursing staff who served this great nation in wartime as well as peacetime.

Here are the members that made it happen for Memorial Day 2023

Creative Conceptual Adviser: Jon Fox

Cast of Characters:
Field Hospital Surgeon: Nabil Atweh
Field Hospital Nurse: Christina McKay-DiChristina
Field Hospital Soldier: Al Landis
Injured Soldier #1: Peter Kolbrener
Field Nurse: Hanna Wasserman
Injured Soldier #2: Larry Lich
Attending Medic: Frank Wood
Injured Soldier #3: Richard Wiener
Attending Medic: Bob Mitchell

Producer: Baxter Urist
Director: Roy McKay
Sound Track Managers: John Brandt & Dick Kalt
Sound Track Producer: Dick Kalt
Signage Design & Production: Mike Guthman
Signage Installation: Larry Lich, Mike Boyle
Carpenters: Joe Watson, Lou Rolla, Baxter Urist, Roy McKay
Painters: Richard Wiener, Baxter Urist, Roy McKay
Float Assembly: John Brandt, Bob Fatherley, Skip Weverbergh, Mike Boyle, Neil Coleman, Lou Rolla, Dick Kalt, Baxter Urist, Roy McKay, Hal Foodman and Frank Wood
Float Hauling: Neil Coleman
Grips & Transport Assistance: Lou Rolla, Mike Boyle,
Tom Johnson, Neil Coleman, Bob Fatherley, Dick Kalt & Joel Wasserman
Construction Crew: Bob Mitchell, Lou Rolla, Joe Watson, Joel Wasserman, Baxter Urist, Hal Foodman
Special Effects: Roy McKay

Publicity: Roy Fuchs, Ed Bloch and John Brandt
Photographers: Ted Horowitz, Hal Foodman

Brochure Printing: FedEx Office Print & Ship Center
Storage Location: Gault Barn
Assembly Location: A. J. Penna & Son
Sound Equipment: New England Sound Equipment
Float Transport: A.J. Penna & Son
Teardown Team: Bob Fatherley, Larry Lich, Neil Coleman, Baxter Urist, Hal Foodman, Joe Watson and Roy McKay and Frank Wood

Photos of past floats: