“Walk of Light” in Windsor, Connecticut September 11, 2016.
On the steps of Windsor CT Town Hall honoring the fallen of 9/11.
By Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com
A large crowd filled the Windsor, Connecticut Town Green Sunday night, September 11, 2016 where a 15th Anniversary “Walk of Light” and commemorative ceremony honored victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks against America. Nearly 3000 luminaries lined the historic town green, inscribed and decorated, representing each individual who lost his or her life due to the attacks.
Four hijacked planes attacked the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon and one aimed at Washington D.C. was downed in Pennsylvania.
Fred Kuo at the podium.
Despite his still palpable grief, speaker Fred Kuo chose to focus on “gifts of kindness” associated with that day. Director of Experiential Learning and Associate Director of Alumni & Parent Relations at Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Kuo’s father – also named Fred – was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.
At the time, although Kuo was new to a job at Merrimack College, he recalled a series of kindnesses showed to him by people there – from someone ushering a distraught Kuo into a campus chapel, to those who sat and talked with him, to friends in Windsor offering him a place to stay overnight on his return trip to his family home on Long Island, N.Y., to three members of a fraternity at the college who insisted on riding back with Kuo. As well, Kuo spoke of the kindness showed to him by the college in allowing him time before returning to work and their understanding when he decided he wanted a job closer to home. Prior to coming to Loomis Chaffee, he took a position at Fairfield University in Connecticut which ultimately gave him the “gift of family”, he said. It was there that he met his wife and the couple now has three children. Rather than concentrating on the horrific tragedy of 9/11, Kuo said he thinks of the kindness shown to him which reflect a lesson, known to his Loomis Chaffee students, called “the common good”.
“There was a heightened feeling we were all in this together” he said, “I fear we are losing that.”
The pain of the loss of his father remains, added Kuo. At age 44, Kuo said, a third of his life has been spent without his father.
Mayor Donald Trinks took the podium and reflected on why Windsor would be inclined to create the “Walk of Light”, not just on the 15th anniversary of 9/11 but on three previous anniversaries of the attacks. Each “Walk of Light” has been organized by Enita Jubrey, assistant to the town manager, with inscriptions and decoration done by Windsor students and community members.
Windsor lost a resident in the Twin Towers attack, and three more people with close ties to the town – a number increased to four with the addition of Kuo’s father. Despite the connections to the event, Trinks said there is an overriding reason that Windsor hosts the “Walk of Light”.
Mayor Donald Trinks.
“Why Windsor? Simply because we are a community that cares,” the mayor said. He noted the luminary bags were “created with love, originality and reverence.”
“As a resident and a ‘townie’, I could not be more proud of Windsor than I am tonight,” said Trinks.
The national anthem.
Bob Bolasevich, town fire marshal, offered the firefighter tribute. He spoke movingly of the fallen firefighter’s tribute – “the tolling of the bells” – the bell tolling then ensued. Jordan Hunter, Shaneisia Bloomfield, Windsor High School alumni and Deja Russ, East Windsor sang the national anthem. Mike Noga, assistant chief of the Windsor Volunteer Fire Department, played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes and had also led the fire department honor guard onto the town green. Don Melanson, chief of police, served as master of ceremonies.
In the closing benediction Pastor Nicole Yonkman of the First Church in Windsor spoke of both the literal and symbolic power of light.
She said, “The light shines through the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it”.