Every person who lost their life on 9/11
What began as an image of a small wood plaque and some flowers as part of a service-learning project for a group of Windsor High School students with special needs in Windsor, Connecticut, became an event that drew in the larger school and town community. In September 2003, Diane Peskurich, a special education teacher at Windsor High School gave her social skills class an assignment to improve the school and the community. The class decided to create a simple tribute to the victims of September 11th. When a local sculptor heard about the project, he offered to work with the students and the result was far more ambitious. Lon Pelton, a Windsor artist who makes sculptures with scrap metal, collaborated with the students in the development of the memorial. The plans moved from a wooden plaque to a sculpture. Mr. Pelton joined the bottoms of two discarded oil drums to create a thin cylinder. He then cut out the images of the Twin Towers. Once the cylinder was complete, the students drilled a hole for each person who died in the attack, reading the name of each victim as they drilled. Mr. Pelton installed lights in between the two oil drums, as well as night sensors for the lights. The memorial sculpture was placed in the courtyard of Windsor High and is entitled “To Those Who Were”. At the foot of the sculpture is a plaque entitled “Embrace”, designed by Patrick Daly, a Windsor High School senior art student. During the day, sunlight streams through the cutout to cast a shadow of the Twin Towers on the ground and at night the light glows through the holes as if the World Trade Center were surrounded by stars. The sculpture also moves, it is on an axle. In a nearby tree hangs a wind chime and to the right of the sculpture is a large ceramic planter, which is decorated with flowers or greenery depending on the season. American flags also decorate the site. A dedication ceremony was held in May 21, 2004. Then Connecticut Governor John D. Rowland was the honored guest, along with many local and state dignitaries and, most special, some family members of 9/11 victims. The project served as a true example of what can be accomplished when people of all levels of ability possessing diversified strengths, interests, and cultural and ethnic backgrounds join together to make a statement. The sculpture is a lasting tribute to each and every person who lost their life on that day and to their families and friends.