Margaret Orloske memorial in 2015, photo by Christina Vida.
Most of us remember what we were doing, and where we were when we heard about the terrorists attacks on our country on September 11, 2001. The effects of that shocking day still reverberate on a personal level and throughout the town. So how does Windsor remember? What has the town done with its grief and shock over the past ten-plus years?
Windsor has three 9/11 memorials. The most recent was installed in front of the Hayden Station Fire Company on 54 Basswood Road in 2011, when the newly renovated station had its grand opening. On display is a World Trade Center artifact: a piece of steel I-beam from the wreckage of the twin towers.
Another memorial is a small reflective garden and plaque created in memory of Margaret Orloske who lost her life in the World Trade Center, where she worked on the 96th floor of Tower 1. It is in the Settlement Hill development, where Margaret and her family lived, nearby the Oliver Ellsworth Homestead.
The plaque features a poem written by her 20-year-old son Stephen. During a ceremony unveiling the memorial, her husband Duane Orloske remarked, “It is fitting because it is a garden and it was something Margaret like to do. It was built for and by our community. It is fitting because it is a tribute to life and all living things.”
The last memorial is a metal sculpture created by students at Windsor High School and local artist Lon Pelton in 2004. The project started as a classroom challenge by teacher Diane Peskurich in 2003. The resulting monument, “To Those Who Were” was unveiled with a May 21, 2004, dedication ceremony attended by then Connecticut Governor John Rowland.
The sculpture measures six by five feet and consists of the ends of two oil-tank bottoms welded together to create a thin cylinder. The outline of the twin towers is cut through the metal cylinder, and the students and others perforated it with 3000 tiny holes as they spoke the name of a person lost that day. Each hole sparkles as night stars thanks to the sculpture’s interior lighting. Art student Patrick Daly designed a plaque entitled “Embrace” for the sculpture. You can read about it at the Voices of September 11 website.
My friend Sarah Rafala was one of the fourteen students in Diane Peskurich’s societal-skills class that year. She exemplified what John Rowland called “sweetness and passion” for the project as she daily reported the memorial’s progress. Thanks to Sarah, Lon, our local high school, the Orloske family, and others, we are one of over 150 Connecticut towns that visually honors the many lives lost that day and the families who love them.
By Connie Thomas, Administrative Assistant