Luminary ceremony shines bright on Sept. 11 anniversary
By Gregory A. Scibelli - Staff Writer
Windsor - posted Fri., Sep. 16, 2011
Bonnie Pots walked along the Windsor Town Green viewing the 2,973 bags of sand lit up in patriotic red, white and blue colors. She recalled her brother-in-law, who served the country in Vietnam and spent time working at the Pentagon and fortunately was not among those killed in the attack at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
“As I walk, I hear the kids point to their parents to show them which bag they did,” said Pots. “I think it is wonderful the children are learning how to honor our soldiers now," she added. "My brother-in-law did not have that when he was serving.”
She was one of hundreds to attend Windsor’s unique 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony on the night of Sept. 11, a luminary tribute to the people who lost their lives on the day of the attacks against the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D. C., and the plane that crashed in southern Pennsylvania without hitting its intended target, projected to be the Capitol or the White House.
Windsor’s ceremony received many guests from out of town, as it was held in the evening. Many 9/11 ceremonies are held during the day on Sept. 11, around the time the planes were crashed.
“I really feel like our ceremony is the best in this area. No town near us has anything like this,” said Police Chief Kevin Searles, who served as Master of Ceremonies this year. “Every one of those bags is done by an individual child or another member of the community. We have so many people who come together to make this happen.” In the background, the town office building was also illuminated in red, white and blue light.
Individuals who participate in the luminary program receive a name and do some minor research on the person. Their name is written on a white bag, and the individual decorates the bag. Prior to the ceremony, it is filled with enough sand to hold a candle. The bags completely outlined the sidewalks of the Windsor Town Green, where Mayor Donald Trinks welcomed everyone to a patriotic ceremony.
“You get to see first-hand the compassion of the people here in our town,” said Trinks. “Our compassion extends to these people whose names are on the bags and to their families. Each of these bags was done with creativity and love.”
Trinks recalled a previous year's ceremony, when one of the luminaries attracted a young lady who lost her father in the 9/11 attacks.
“She came here looking for a ceremony to take part in,” said Trinks. “The young lady searched and found her father’s bag. At that time, I could not have been prouder of our community.”
Trinks reminded people to be appreciative of first responders and volunteers with the local police, fire and EMS, and to appreciate the work they do, often putting their lives on the line. Following the ceremony, which included speeches by local pastors and priests, many stayed behind to walk around the town green and view the luminary bags.
Luminary artists included students and volunteers from the Madina Academy, St. Gabriel School, Windsor High School, Sage Park Middle School, Windsor Discovery Center, Praise Power & Prayer School, Windsor R.I.S.E, Trinity United Methodist Christian School, Caring Connection Adult Day Health Center, employees of the Town of Windsor, Windsor Youth Services Bureau, The Hartford, St. Joseph’s Church, First Church of Windsor, York Correctional Institution, and Windsor residents.