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Settlement Hill 9/11 Memorial Garden (Windsor)

 

Dedicated to: Margaret Quinn Orloske & the Victims of September 11th

Type of Memorial: Garden

 

Location: Settlement Hill at end of the cul-de-sac

Address: 18 Settlement Hill

City: Windsor

State: Connecticut

Country: United States

 

Open to Public: Yes

 

Description: The Memorial Garden is dedicated to the life of Margaret Quinn Orloske and the victims of September 11th, 2001. The garden was funded by the Settlement Hill Community along with generous donations of labor and materials from area businesses. In addition to the Dedication Monument, which includes a poem written by Margaret's son Stephen E. Orloske (seo), there is a dedication monument to the people that did the recovery work at Ground Zero created with items donated by Sean Sullivan. The Garden was the idea of fellow gardener and neighbor, Kevin Harter, and designed by Del N. Orloske, brother-in-law of Margaret. It is located on the island at the end of the cul-de-sac of Settlement Hill.

In addition to the Memorial Garden, the Settlement Hill community adopted the daily practice of displaying twin candle lights in their front windows every night: one to remember Margaret and the other to remember all of the 9/11 victims. This practice has continued every night since October of 2001, even though many of the homes have new owners.

 

More Information: Memorial Garden Dedication:

On September 11th 2001 over 2800 people were murdered in a meaningless act of violence. Since then there has been much mourning, not only for Margaret, my wife, Stephen’s mother, Sylvia daughter, and neighbor and friend to most of the people here; but also for the thousands of others that perished that day. For most of us here the tragedy of that day opened up a door to a view of the world that may have been dormant since childhood. We saw the world as it really is – a world where everyone and everything is connected. We had a renewed sense of the value for all life and renewed understanding of what was most important in life, like family and community. In is in that spirit that this memorial was built. And that is why it is such a fitting memorial.

• It is a fitting memorial because it is a garden, and gardening was something Margaret loved to do, and a garden is something that is living and grows.

• It is fitting because it was built by and for our community and is, in the truest sense, a community project.

• It is fitting because it is a tribute to life and the connections between all living things.

• It is fitting because it honors not only the memory of Margaret and those that died that day but also it a touchstone that evokes the horror and feelings of September 11th through the powerful poetry of Stephen Orloske, our son. Through the reading those verses, people will be brought back to that day and will hopefully remember the lessons it taught us. Namely, we are connected to one another, not only in our neighborhoods but with all of the people and all living things on this small planet. That the freedoms this country stands for are worth protecting, because even with its many faults and the messiness of its processes, our democracy is still the best thing going for having people live and grow together cooperatively.

• It is Fitting because it is literally at the heart of our community were we will be reminded daily of our loss and the lessons we have learned.

This Memorial Garden will be here for many years to come. In a hundred years this copper beech tree will be over 60 feet tall and shade much of this cul-du-sac. I hope that even then, what we dedicate today will help future generations to remember what happened on September 11th 2001, and what we all learned to value as a result of that tragic loss.

I want to thank and acknowledge some individuals for making this project possible.

• Kevin Harter, for coming up with the idea, breathing life into it and being its champion to the end, including all of the weeding and watering.

• My neighbors in Settlement Hill for donating the bulk of the funds that made the garden possible.

• For the local businesses that provided vital assistance, namely

• Our neighbors Ted and Walter Aniskoff and their company Aniskoff Bros. Construction for donating their labor and equipment to clear and grade the ground as well as move and plant our boulders.

• Our Neighbor Bob St. Jacques who had his crew at 4 Seasons Landscaping transport our trees & shrubs to the site and then got them planted.

• And Charles Kopcinski Jr. at American Materials Corporation for donating the three boulders to the site.

• My deepest thanks to my brother Del Orloske, who is also a landscape architect, for designing and then planting most of the garden.

• Finally my son Stephen for capturing the essence and emotions of September 11th in his poetry so people will never forget.

In closing I want to paraphrase something I wrote for Margaret’s Memorial Service last October as it captures the way she lived her life and is by far the most important things I have learned from her.

I ask you all to honor Margaret’s Life and the lives of all those who died September 11th by continuing them through the tending of your own life gardens. By remembering the lessons their lives have taught us.

• Water your garden regularly with love, care, kindness and a good nature

• Fertilize it with your integrity, commitment to the collective good, role modeling for others and through your actions for positive change.

• Know when it is appropriate to prune and then do so making sure you use the smallest sharpest sheers and never ever use a weed-whacker.

• And MOST IMPORTANT, every day attend to the weeding: removing the egos, the upsets, the unforgiven transgressions, the personal prejudices and the hundred excuses for putting off that call to a loved one until a tomorrow … a day that may never come. Weed out all those things that come between us and obscure the connections that make us a garden.

• Finally honor their lives by tending your Gardens and make sure the weeds do not grow back and hide the truth that we are all connected and that there is nothing we cannot accomplish together if we express our best every day, and support and love others so they contribute their best as well. That way the lives of the over 2800 who were lost to us on September 11th, will not be meaningless and they will all live forever, including our beloved Margaret.

Contact: Duane A. Orloske

 

 

 

 

Twin lights in the front windows of almost every home; one for Margaret & one for all of the 9/11 Victims

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