Thursday, September 07, 2017
By James Lomuscio
Emma Hunt, the little redheaded girl who wells up with tears each year as she places a white rose on her father’s name at Sherwood Island State Park’s 9/11 Living Memorial, is 17 now.
She was only 1 when her father perished in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the twin towers. Still, she reacts as if she and her dad had been inseparable all these years.
At today’s service held in the park’s pavilion, Emma seemed overcome when the name of her father William Christopher Hunt was read from the list of 161 Connecticut lives lost. Emma’s mother Jennifer Bauman, who has since remarried, leaned over and stroked her daughter’s back.
“She was only 1,” said Dave Woodward of Norwalk, Emma’s grandfather, as the family gathered around the stone memorial at the water’s edge. “She has a lot of his pictures in her room.”
Not far from Emma were Sophie Pelletier-Martinelli and her son Nic of Riverside. They too had placed flowers on the name of their loved one, Mike A. Pelletier, an employee at Cantor Fitzgerald, a World Trade Center financial firm destroyed when the first tower fell.
Nic, who was only 3-months-old when his father died, said he could understand the pain Emma felt. He, too, feels a connection to a father he cannot remember meeting.
“I have a lot of pictures, and I’ve heard stories about him from my family,” Nic said.
“We talk about him every day; he’s always with us,” his mother said.
Today’s ceremony under crisp, sharp azure skies was not unlike the fateful morning nearly 16 years ago when two terrorist hijacked planes crashed into each of the two towers, reducing them to ash and rubble. There were also the attack on the Pentagon and the hijacked United Flight 93 that went in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Sari Weatherwax of Wilton noticed that the weather seemed comparable, “clear skies out, as the pilots used to call it.”
“Sometimes it seems like yesterday, and then there are times that you think about all the things that have happened since,” said Weatherwax, a former United Airlines flight attendant who lost 16 friends that day.
Her friends were flight attendants and pilots on United’s Flight 175 that plowed into the World Trade Center and Flight 93 that went down in Shanksville.
Today, Weatherwax is a docent and artifacts specialist at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City.
As hundreds gathered in the pavilion, heartfelt words of compassion and healing were shared by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, and Brian Mattiello, former director of the state’s Office of Family Support.
Their tributes were underscored by moving, patriotic songs performed by the U.S. Coast Guard Cadet Glee Club directed by Robert Newton, not to mention “Taps” played by U.S. Marine Cpl. Felipe Vieira.
Much of the secular music seemed sacred and framed by the flapping of white sails in the Long Island Sound and the sight of gulls that hovered above like eagles.
“All of us are connected to an event in time and to each other,” Mattiello said.
Mattiello said that a week ago, one of the victim’s family members told him, “Just being here makes it better, and just knowing we will be here next year makes me encouraged.”
He said that the coming together of family members to remember and to support each other “makes us all part of the human family,” offering hope and comfort “just as rainbows come through the clouds.”
Posted 09/07/17 at 08:25 PM Permalink