Tag Archives: 9/11

Roundup: Hamlet & P&Z, Lamont & Stefanowski; A Better Chance ….

The Hamlet at Saugatuck — a retail/residential/hotel/marina plan that would reimagine the neighborhood between the train station and I-95 bridge — got its first Planning & Zoning Commission hearing last night.

Representatives from ROAN Ventures — the local developers — and their architectural, environmental, traffic and legal partners began their application for text and map amendments. Both are needed to begin remediation efforts of the contaminated land, followed by construction.

The hour-long presentation included a video, maps, and conceptual artists’ renderings. The actual design process has not yet begun.

Applicants addressed issues like traffic, with solutions that include underground parking, and working with the state to synchronize lights. They also noted that 50% of the land will be open space.

Commission members and residents had mixed reactions. There praised the thoughtfulness of the planning and the depth of the presentation, and questioned density and traffic.

No action was taken. The P&Z will continue its discussion on October 3.

A conceptual view of the Hamlet at Saugatuck project, from the river.

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In less than 2 months, Connecticut will elect a governor.

If you don’t know anything about the candidates — or do, and want to ask a question — you don’t have to go far.

The Y’s Men of Westport and Weston has partnered with the Westport Library to host 2 forums. Both are in the Trefz Forum.

This Thursday (September 15, 10 a.m.), Republican challenger Bob Stefanowski speaks, and takes questions. Incumbent Democratic Governor Ned Lamont does the same next Monday (September 19, 1 p.m.). Both visits will also be livestreamed.

Click here to register for either or both session, in-person or via livestream. Attendees should arrive 15 minutes prior to the start.

(Graphic courtesy of Connecticut Education Association)

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A Better Chance of Westport’s 21st year is off to a rousing start.

New resident directors, 7 multi-talented scholars, and a chance to really be part of (and give back to) the community after 2 COVID years has energized Glendarcy House, the program’s North Avenue home.

The scholars — in grades 9 through 12 — are engaged in a range of activities, at Staples High School and beyond. Because they are not allowed to drive, they need rides after school and in early evenings.

Community volunteers have always come through. To help transport — and get to know — these great young men, and for more information, email abcwestportrides@gmail.com.

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On Sunday, Jeff Manchester took his kids to the 9/11 Memorial.

Not the one at Sherwood Island State Park, though. Jeff is drawn to the one at Oak Lawn Cemetery & Arboretum, off Bronson Road. It’s a 100-acre site where people have remembered loved ones for more than 150 years.

The memorial is a pair of 9-foot granite towers atop a pentagon-shaped granite base. A rock engraved with “Let’s Roll” honors the heroes of Flight 93.

Dedicated last September, it was designed by Dean Powers, a native Westporter and Oak Lawn’s longtime groundskeeper.

He never saw it completed. He died of cancer in 2020.

Click here for the back story on the monument, and Dean’s remarkable contributions to it.

Rock and trees at Oak Lawn Cemetery.

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Do you want some money?

If you’re involved with a non-profit organization, read on.

The Westport Woman’s Club is accepting grant proposals for 2022-2023. Click here for more information, and the form.

Requests for projects that will make a difference in the community may be in the form of funds, or a one-time use of the Westport Woman’s Clubhouse for an event. Grants go each year to organizations in education, health and safety-related programs, and the arts.

Community groups should submit their proposals by October 31 to Westport Woman’s Club, Attention: Community Service Grants, 44 Imperial Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.

For more information, call 203-227-4240.

Organizations can apply for a one-time use of Bedford Hall at the Westport Woman’s Club.

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Like many Staples High School reunions, the Class of 1971’s fell victim to COVID.

Organizers Bonnie Housner Erickson, Tucker Sweitzer and Joanne Romano-Csonka felt the 50th was too big to let pass. So — a year later — the reunion is on (September 30-October 2).

Bonnie and her crew want to make sure “all classmates feel like they matter,” even though some may not have felt that back then. The organizers sought to “remind them they were an integral part of a life-changing period in history.”

In keeping with the late ’60s/early ’70s zeitgeist, they wanted to create an environment of peace and harmony, with “no hierarchy, no difference in status.”

The theme is “Welcome Home” — and the website (hey, this is 2022, not 1971) may be the best for any reunion class, ever. Click here to see.

Bonnie spent hours designing it. Much of it is class-specific of course. But the 1971 flashbacks and photos will interest many people, whether or not they (or their parents) were even alive then.

The reunion itself will feature peace signs, and memories of hangouts like the Ice Cream Parlor and beach. Music is supplied by the Reunion Band — featuring ’71 alums Brian Keane, Michael Mugrage, Bill Sims, Rob and Julie Aldworth McClenathan, Dave Barton and Bonnie Erickson — who rocked the Levitt Pavilion in 2019, the Class of ’70 reunion several weeks ago, and the Class of ’72 reunion last weekend.

Screenshot, Staples High school Class of 1971 reunion website home page.

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Today’s gorgeous “Westport … Naturally” comes from Saugatuck Shores, via Ken Yormark:

(Photo/Ken Yormark)

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And finally … Ramsey Lewis — a towering jazz figure for over 50 years — died yesterday in Chicago. He was 87.

His trio hit the pop charts a few times in the 1960s. In 2007 the National Endowment for the Arts named him a Jazz Master, the nation’s highest honor for a jazz musician.

(“06880” is your hyper-local blog. To support our efforts, please click here.) 

Dean Powers’ 9/11 Memorial Lives On

Saturday marked 20 years since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. From Westport to the West Coast, ceremonies recalled that tragic day.

Here’s another 9/11 story. Though a couple of days old, it’s still timely.

And timeless.

A new memorial in Fairfield honors the nearly 3,000 victims killed, at 3 separate sites. It’s housed at historic Oak Lawn Cemetery & Arboretum — a 100-acre site where people have remembered loved ones for more than 150 years.

The new memorial — a pair of 9-foot granite towers atop a pentagon-shaped granite base, with a rock engraved with “Let’s Roll” that honors the heroes of Flight 93 — is impressive.

Oak Lawn cemetery’s granite towers. (Screenshot courtesy of News12 Connecticut).

So are the trees along the walkway. A cemetery board member visited the 9/11 site in New York, gathered acorns, brought them to his home nursery and raised the trees.

It’s all the handiwork of Dean Powers — Oak Lawn’s longtime groundskeeper (and native Westporter).

Bronson Hawley called Powers “very, very dedicated (and) hardworking.” The cemetery board member told News12 Connecticut: “He worked here literally 7 days a week. He saw this site and he said, ‘boy this is great and I’d like to do something to memorialize the victims,'” says Hawley.

Rock and trees at Oak Lawn Cemetery. (Screen shot courtesy of News12 Connecticut)

Powers never saw the finished work. He died of cancer in June last year. He was 69.

“Dean started designing maybe 3 years ago. He literally worked on those designs until the day he died. It was just amazing,” says Hawley.

Powers prepped the site, cleared it, planted bushes and moved trees. He even stood in the pouring rain, to watch how water flowed there.

Powers gave another gift too: His estate is paying for the cost of the memorial.

Previously, he paid for the granite. He had selected it himself, from a Vermont quarry.

A dedication ceremony this week will feature Jed Glick. He’s the brother of one of the men who rushed the cockpit of Flight 93. They prevented the hijacked plane from crashing into the US Capitol.

Dean Powers

“Powers” is a common name. But it’s special in Westport. Dean Powers’ grandfather is the namesake of Powers Court, the official address of the Westport Country Playhouse.

His mother Eunice taught in Westport schools for many years, and played piano at the Unitarian Church.

His family did not seek fame or fortune. Instead they found satisfaction in doing their absolute best, all the time. They worked hard, and took no shortcuts.

Just like the heroes of Flight 93 — and so many others — now honored, thanks to Dean Powers, at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Fairfield.

(For the full News12 story, click here.)

Roundup: 9/11 And Westport, New Restaurant, Young Chefs …

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Peggy Lehn is a 1979 Staples grad. Her family has been in Westport for 11 generations (her grandmother was born on the property that is now Longshore).

She is also an American Airlines pilot.

She flew both of the airplanes that the carrier lost on September 11, 2001. For 2 decades, Peggy has kept the answering machine messages from family and friends, wondering if she was alive.

She was not on duty that morning, 20 years ago today. But her brother Tom — Staples Class of 1985, and also an American Airlines pilot — was.

Peggy sent along this message he received, from a dispatcher in Texas. It’s a chilling reminder of the terror that day — and how close to home it struck.

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One more 9/11 story, with a local connection:

On that day, Westporter and Vietnam veteran Tony Anthony was a marketer on an assignment for AmeriCares. He was at their office when the news came that the World Trade Center had been hit.

AmeriCares has a helicopter. Their pilot flew around the towers, but was unable to help. He had to leave the airspace.

Tony was on board, taking photos. Jack Farrell shared this one, with “06880”:

(Photo/Tony Anthony)

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There’s action at Railroad Place — specifically, the former Cocoa Michele, and the spot Romanacci recently moved from.

It looks like another eatery is moving in.

(Photo/Gary Nusbaum)

This “Allium Eatery” is not to be confused with Allium Pizza Co. & Mo’ in — of all places — Westport Island, Maine.

“06880” will pass along info when we get it.

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Farm to Local — the new food-crafts-and-more Main Street store opposite Colf Fusion — has a soft opening this weekend (12 to 5 p.m.).

New products and merchandise are added daily. Another new feature: the Westport Artists’ Collective has a mini-gallery inside the store.

Local to Market – the first stocked shelves.

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The Westport Library is b-a-a-a-c-k!

On Monday, full operating hours resume. That’s Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.

There’s another chapter: The Café opens weekdays (9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.), Saturdays (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), and Sundays (1 to 4:30 p.m.).

The Café has partnered with Gruel Brittania, in addition to existing vendors Sono Baking Company and Cloudy Lane Bakery. The menu includes salads, sandwiches, pastries, cookies and quiche.

Though the Westport Library reopens full-time on Monday, we still won’t see scenes like this for a while.

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Mark your calendars: Westoberfest returns on October 16 (1 to 5 p.m.).

The Craft Beer Festival on Elm Street also includes live music, classic car rally and exhibition, kids’ activities and — because Halloween will be right around the corner — a pumpkin giveaway.

Click the QR code below, or click here for more information.

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Forget Easy-Bake ovens. (Do they still make them anymore?)

Among the fall class offerings at Wakeman Town Farm: a new cooking class for youngsters in kindergarten through grade 3.

“Pint-Sized Cooking: Everything Mini” teaches cooking, baking and “food experimentation, while creating meals in miniature. Young chefs will be put on a path to understanding the appeal of delicious food.”

Popular favorites for older kids — including Cooking Around the Globe and Young Chef’s Club — continue too.

Click here for more information, and registration.

Eager students in Wakeman Town Farm’s “Cooking Around the Globe” class.

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Worried about heating bills?

Low-income residents can apply for Connecticut’s Energy Assistance Program through Westport’s Department of Human Services. Applications are available starting October 1, and run through April 30.

Individuals and families qualify for CEAP based on annual income and household size. Click on the state website for full details.

Households with previous CEAP applications on file will receive mailed application instructions in the coming weeks.  New residents can contact Human Services for application information (203-341-1050) or email humansrv@westportct.gov.

DHS also operates a separate Warm-Up Fund.

For more information, click on Westport Energy Assistance.

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Duncan Hurley — father of 3 children, and a longtime Westport Soccer Association volunteer coach — died this week.

A grateful parent remembers seeing him on many Saturday mornings, with a toddler on his hip coaching older players.

“They were the most jovial and effervescent family, even in the midst of health struggles they dealt with privately,” she says. “I reflect on this passage from The Little Prince in his honor: ‘In one of those stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And when your sorrow is comforted 9time soothes all sorrows), you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. I shall not leave you.'”

She adds: “He was a king, raising princes and a princess in the best form. He was a gem, to any and all who had the pleasure of crossing his path.”

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When I was young, the only turkeys I saw were at Thanksgiving.

Now they’re all over town. This crew was “stuffing” itself at Earthplace — and posing for today’s “Westport … Naturally” shot.

(Photo/Abby Gordon-Tolan)

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And finally … there are 2 great songs that stood on their own for years. For the past 2 decades though — and for the rest of my life — I’ll always associate them with 9/11.

They were played often then, on the radio, funerals and memorial events. They became the deeply comforting soundtrack of those truly awful days.

Gabi Dick: A 9/11 Child Grows Up

Every September 11 — and the other 364 days of the year too — countless people mourn loved ones lost on that tragic day.

Others mourn loved ones they never knew.

Gabi Jacobs Dick is a 2020 Staples High School graduate, and sophomore at Purchase College. His father, Ariel Jacobs, was killed in the World Trade Center.

“All crews recovered was his briefcase,” People magazine reports. “Yet it was not all he left behind. Six days later, his widow Jenna Jacobs McPartland gave birth to their son Gabriel.

People has followed Gabi, and others — perhaps 100 — who never knew their parents, since then. Now they’re part of a documentary, “Rebuilding Hope: The Children of 9/11.” It’s streaming on Discovery+.

“I have no tangible memories of my dad, so there’s nothing concrete,” Gabi says, in the current People story. It includes him on the cover.

Gabi Dick, upper right in the group of the 4 “Children of 9/11.”

 

“I can’t grieve him the way my mother does. She can recall memories. For me, it’s not so much a missing feeling, as a longing. I have questions and ideas. But I don’t ask what-if questions. There’s no answer.”

Gabi recently saw a video of his father. He told People: 

Gabi Dick (Photo courtesy of People Magazine)

“Something about being 19 and hearing my dad’s voice for the first time — that pushed an emotional button I didn’t know I had,” he says. “My whole life it was up to my imagination to turn him into a person. There was never anything to go off of except for photos. Seeing him on film with his friends and traveling to Buenos Aires, I was like this is a real person. He’s right in front of me.”

“It was sad,” he says, “but it did not make me sad.

“I think of how he would have wanted my life to be,” he says. “I honor him by being alive, being happy and living a great life

(Click here for the full People magazine story. Click here for People‘s 2016 story on Gabi Dick. Hat tip: Kerry Long)

9/11: A Lost Video, Found In A Pandemic

Alert “06880” reader Robin Gusick writes:

The anniversary of 9/11 always takes me back to when I lived in downtown New York, on 14th Street and Avenue A with my husband Dave and our 6-month old baby Sam.

Early that morning, a friend called and said, “you better put on the TV – now.” We watched in horror and disbelief the footage of the first plane hitting.

Sam Gusick with his young parents, Dave and Robin.

We had plans to take Sam to his first baby music class, and wondered whether to go or not. Since we presumed the plane crash to be a terrible accident, we put Sam in his stroller and walked outside.

On the way we saw people huddling around a Radio Shack with multiple TV sets in the windows, all showing the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center. We considered heading home, but figured we might as well go to the class as a distraction.

Ten minutes in, the teacher stopped playing her guitar and said, “I’m sorry, but it just seems wrong to sing when the world is falling apart. I just heard that a second plane hit. This is not an accident — it’s a terrorist attack.”

As we rushed out and hurried home with Sam back in his stroller, we saw massive smoke rising up from further downtown. People watched TVs in windows all along Union Square. They stood silently in shock, watching both towers fall.

Back in our apartment, we put Sam in his “exersaucer” and watched TV — and watched and watched, in horror. We saw smoke from our apartment windows, and smelled the most toxic smell imaginable.

It was particularly surreal to see this innocent 6-month old baby staring at the TV, and wonder what kind of world he would grow up in. We videotaped that moment on our bulky camcorder, knowing one day we would want to show Sam.

Fast forward 18 years to September 11, 2018. Sam is a senior at Staples High School (we moved to Westport when he was 2). I told him a bit of our story of that somber day, mentioning I had a videotape somewhere. He said, “Wow, I’d really like to see that.”

I was glad he was way too young to remember that awful day. I tried to explain to him that when you go through  something like 9/11, you forever see the world through a different lens.

Sam headed off to the University of Vermont the following fall. My first baby quickly found “his people” and his “happy place” in Burlington. He came home for spring break in March. The pandemic hit, and his time in Vermont came to a screeching halt. Sam said, “My generation really has not lived through anything major like this… well, except September 11th. But I have no memory of that.”

Sam Gusick (Photo/Kerry Long)

Sam’s last 2 months of school were at home with no friends, no campus, no Burlington. He was a good sport. He was happy to have Zoom calls, and movie nights with his college buddies. There were silver linings: family dinners that never fit into his busy Staples Players and Orphenians schedule, and decluttering and simplifying our home.

During one of those long pandemic days in March, sorting through mountains of old papers while watching “Tiger King” with Sam, I felt a small item mixed in with the papers: a videotape labeled “Sam — September 11th.” It was a pandemic miracle!

However, the miracle was trapped in what seemed like caveman technology. Plus every business was shutting down. I left that tape on my night table, though.  It took until today — September 11, 2020 — for me to research how to transfer that camcorder video to a watchable format.

And so, my 9/11 “gift” to Sam (who is back at UVM now) is this video, along with a message: Life can change in an instant.

It did on 9/11/01, and it did this past March. Keep being the resilient, positive man you have grown to be. Keep smiling like you did in that exersaucer on that very, very sad day.

Even if it’s under your mask. Click below for the 9/11 video.

Roundup: 9/11 Babies, Gas, More


From time to time, “06880” has noted Hillary O’Neill. The Staples High School graduate — and daughter of Coleytown Middle School social studies teacher Glenn O’Neill — was born on September 11, 2001.

She and a number of other young people have embraced their now-infamous birthday, dedicating themselves to service on a day that is difficult to celebrate.

Yesterday, Politico ran a story headlined: “The Children of 9/11 Are About to Vote.” The piece explored what “the youngest cohort of American voters thinks about politics, fear and the potential of the country they’ve grown up in.”

Hillary — now an EMT and student — was one of the “9/11 babies” interviewed. Among her thoughts:

From what I understand, there’s a certain aspect of fear now that didn’t necessarily exist before. It’s weird when I talk to my parents and they say, “This is not what it was always like.

The country has done a very poor job of handling the pandemic. It’s exposed a lot of the disorganization and divisions in our country and in our government. The fact that we are so divided has prevented us from actually being able to move forward with anything. It’s just frustrating when you hear experts on the topic who have been preparing their whole lives for an event like this, and they’re not being listened to.

When I was younger, I always thought that in America there was equality—that everyone had rights and everyone had freedoms. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized although that’s the ideal, that’s not the truth.

As a young woman, the way that (President Trump) talks about women is very disheartening to me and a lot of my friends. To know that that’s the person who is supposed to represent your country is a very frustrating feeling. You would think that everyone looked down upon that. The fact that not everyone does is a very frustrating feeling.

I hope that my generation can bring back a sense of community to the country. That is really something that will allow us to accomplish more things and move forward as a country. Rather than just accepting something the way that it is—because that’s the way it’s always been or accepting certain institutions—people my age have grown up learning to challenge those. If you don’t agree with something, challenge it.

Click here for the full Politico story, with more comments by Hillary and others. (Hat tip: Kerry Foley)

 

 

 

 

The cost of many things goes up. The price of gas keeps dropping.

As Chip Stephens put out his state representative campaign signs yesterday, he noticed at least 3 gas stations charging less than $2 a gallon.

Now, if we only had someplace to go, other than around in circles …

(Photo/Chip Stephens)


And finally … Ronald Khalis Bell — a founder of Kool & the Gang — died Wednesday. He was 68. Let’s celebrate the group’s monster hit, which he wrote:

Unsung Heroes #115

Among the nearly 3,000 victims of 9/11, 161 were from Connecticut.

Two lived in Westport: Jonathan Uman and Bradley Vadas. Brothers Keith and Scott Coleman grew up here. All worked at the World Trade Center.

They were sons, fathers and brothers. They had much of their lives still ahead of them.

They may not be “heroes” in the traditional sense. They simply went to work one morning, and were killed minutes later in random, brutal and senseless acts of terror.

But they were heroes to their spouses, girlfriends, parents, siblings and friends. They were good men, good sons, good fathers and good brothers.

We remember them today. And every day.

The Sherwood Island State Park 9/11 Memorial honors the 161 Connecticut residents killed 18 years ago today. (Photo/David Squires)

9/11: Andrew Colabella Remembers

On September 11, 2001, Westport native and current RTM member Andrew Colabella was in 7th grade at Bedford Middle School. He remembers:

I was sitting in Mr. Summ’s English class. We were called to the auditorium. Another fire drill? Motivational speaker? A boring play? Seemed too soon in the beginning of the year to be doing this.

Mrs. Wormser spoke with Ms. Reneri, standing with Mr. Delgado, about 2 planes hitting the World Trade Center. They had no other information to give.

Why would they call us to the auditorium about that? Planes crash every year. I started thinking, what if there is more to this? My friends said I had no idea what I was talking about.

Terrorism wasn’t new to me. My cousin John DiGiovanni was killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

We headed to lunch at 10:32. Parents were coming to the school picking up their kids. Some cried hysterically as they left the guidance office. Even teachers tried to hide their tears.

I went into the hall to hit the power button on the TV. There it was: 2 smoldering towers. People jumping from the high floors. Maybe they’ll land safely. Maybe they’re bringing helicopters with water to put it out, or throw rope to get them out.

It was serious. It was real.

The iconic 9/11 photo was taken by Westport’s Spencer Platt. He lived near the Twin Towers on that awful morning.

I called home. Dad was safe.

A girl walked out of guidance, crying with 2 friends. I never forgot that memory.

Later I learned about Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon. I stood with my mom at Burying Hill Beach, watching smoke pour out like blood from a bad cut.

We had been cut. Nearly 3,000 people died, including 343 firefighters, 71 police officers, and EMTs and military personnel. That’s not counting the countless number of people who became sick and died long after the attacks.

Sherwood Island State Park, my backyard, holds the memory of 161 names — all Connecticut residents who died on 9/11. On a clear day, you can see the Manhattan skyline from the site.

I never forgot. If you’re reading this, you never forgot where you were or what you were doing that day.

As we grow older, more and more people born after 2001 have no memory of it. I’ve spoken with youth, even people my age, who never heard of the 1993 attacks, Pearl Harbor, the Korean War, the Oklahoma City bombing, even World War I.

Educating future generations is imperative. The history of how we got to where we are today, and what we endured as a nation, is vital. We can never forget those who died for no reason. We can never let our guard down.

Our world changed. The unthinkable happened. We were brought to our knees. But we got right back up, and struck back.

Today I have been selected to read 21 names from the podium of Ground Zero. It is an honor to read names of men and women. I never knew or met nearly all of them, but they are known to and loved by others: a parent, child, grandchild, cousin, spouse, but overall, a soul. These are the 21 names:

  • Boyie Muhammed
  • Manuel D. Mojica Jr
  • Manuel De Jesus Molina
  • Justin John Molisani Jr
  • Franklyn Monahan
  • Kristen Leigh Montanaro
  • Michael G. Montesi
  • Antonio De Jesus Montoya Valdes
  • Thomas Carlo Moody
  • Krishna V. Moorthy
  • Abner Morales
  • Paula E. Morales
  • Gerard P. Moran Jr.
  • John Michael Moran
  • Lyndsey Stapleton Morehouse
  • Steven P. Morello
  • Yvette Nicole Moreno
  • Richard J. Morgan
  • Sanae Mori
  • Leonel Geronimo Morocho Morocho
  • And my cousin, John Di Giovanni

“No Day Shall Erase You From The Memory Of Time” is affixed to the Ground Zero wall. Each square is a different color, representing each different, unique person who died that day.

Where were you on 9/11? What were you doing?

Who did you know? Who do you remember?

This is my story. What’s yours?

Adam J. Lewis Academy Thrives

Adam J. Lewis grew up poor, in the Bronx. But he seized the educational opportunities he was given — scholarships to Dalton, then Hamilton College — and made a great, successful and fulfilling life for himself.

Then, on September 11, 2001 he was killed at his World Trade Center desk.

In his memory, the people who loved Adam — his wife and many friends — built a superbly fitting tribute.

Adam J. Lewis

Adam J. Lewis

Patty Lewis and Westporter Julie Mombello — friends from their days working together at Greens Farms Academy — knew the importance of pre-school education.

In Westport, pre-school — where children explore the world using all their senses, and learn letters, numbers, scientific observation, music, art, language, problem-solving, cooperation, coordination and many other skills — is a given. That’s far less true in Bridgeport, where the cost of preschool can be daunting.

Patty and Julie vowed to do what they could to give little children just a few miles from Westport the same advantages their own kids had.

The Adam J. Lewis Pre-School was born. And — despite daunting obstacles including fundraising, site selection and city bureaucracy — it has thrived since opening in 2013.

From its start — with just 12 children — it has grown steadily. This year there are 70 students, in pre-K3, pre-K4, kindergarten and 1st grade.

Last year the school relocated to a downtown Bridgeport campus. Its new name is the Adam J. Lewis Academy. They’ll add one grade each year. Ultimately they’ll serve 150 students, as a pre-K through grade 5 independent school.

The goal is to provide children from every background with an intellectually, socially and personally transformative educational experience. Students will leave empowered, and ready to make a difference in the world.

Westporters continue to play a key role in the Adam J. Lewis Academy. Lee Bollert is a longtime board member; 2nd Selectman Jen Tooker joined 4 years ago. Mombello remains a driving force.

Saba Pina — an original teacher 7 years ago — is still there. A new 1st grade instructor came from the Greens Farms Academy internship program.

Many other Westporters help too, volunteering their time and donating funds. (Fully 100% of school families receive need-based financial assistance.)

9/11 was one of the darkest days in American history. Out of those ashes though, a wonderful story of hope and dreams continues to rise.

(For more information on the Adam J. Lewis Academy — and to help — click here.)

An early class of very happy Adam J. Lewis preschoolers.

We Remember

Seventeen years ago today, America was shattered.

Westport was not spared on September 11, 2001. Neighbors and former residents were among the nearly 3,000 people from around the world who were killed that awful day.

Years before they fell, Ted Horowitz photographed the majestic Twin Towers.

(Photo/copyright Ted Horowitz)

He’s a Westporter now. His images capture the beauty of our town, and the many wonderful people who live here.

His photos are moments in time. They preserve forever the way things were.

Because — as we all learned on that clear, beautiful Tuesday morning — it takes just one instant for the world to change, forever.