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Norwalk Church Offers Twin Towers Tribute

NORWALK, Conn. – A twisted piece of scarred metal installed in front of a Norwalk church is open to interpretation, according to Lynden Magnoli of Weston. "It's not a cross," the co-warden of St. Paul's Episcopal Church said of the artifact now hidden under plastic. "It's very abstract, and everyone is going to see something of their own."

The piece of the World Trade Center is positioned on the lawn near the road and sidewalk, where parishioners David Westmoreland and Michael Mushak thought it would be accessible to everyone. Landscapers surrounded it with an oval of boulders and wheelchair-grade stone. There will be a plaque with a poem, which Magnoli said will speak of forgiveness.

It will be uncovered in an ecumenical memorial service Sunday — not an unveiling, Magnoli said, but an uncovering that will happen during the service. The names of Connecticut residents who died in the attack will be read and a bell will toll between each name. Then attendees will disperse quietly, a departure from the festive atmosphere that usually follows church services.

Lauren Ward of Wilton plans to be at the service, which begins at 5 p.m. "I am going to spend the weekend reflecting, being grateful for what we have and hoping for more tolerance in the world," she said. "I have 20-year-old twins and they've done nothing but grow up in this."

Ward once sat at a desk on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center. She had stopped working there long before the attack occurred, but knew Ed Fergus, who died there. "He was very quiet, a great guy," she said. "He loved his children."

Her "stomach lurches" at the thought of falling, a vertigo feeling. "Those people above (floor) 78 were never going to get out," she said. "I think about it every year. They knew they were never going to get out."

She says, "George Bush was very presidential afterward" but is concerned. "The last 10 years have been interesting, it's been good and bad and I just don't like the direction our country's going in right now," said Ward, daughter of an Army colonel. "I don't think anybody does, whatever your political belief is. I want us out of those wars, I want all of our sons and daughters home. I don't see why we have to stay. I don't understand it."

"The attack of 9/11 essentially worked," said Annette Nauraine. "It's driven America into two wars and caused us to expend enormous amounts of human, financial and political capital. For basically not much gain, as a means of kind of salvaging our pride."

Nauraine is one of two church members who spoke up in opposition to the artifact. "In some ways it makes a very political statement," she said. "In other ways, it's definitely a place for people to come and remember. I hope that when people look at it they think in terms of peacemaking efforts rather than the result of somebody attempting to kill a lot of Americans. I hope they see it as a memorial to peace and to those people who died. But as a church, I myself am very ambivalent about having such a political relic on the grounds."The Rev. Cindy Stravers said, "That was not the intent."

Magnoli likes the artifact and its placement. "It's very low-key, I think it's something that people can notice or not," she said. "So many people drive in and say where is it?"

Her wedding anniversary is Sept. 11. She was thankful to be able to go to Swanky Franks with her husband, friends and family on Sept. 11, 2001, after St. Paul's first memorial service for victims. Her husband had been in the city and managed to get on one of the first trains out.

Like any parent, she hopes today's children can learn from their parent's mistakes. "My mom talks about growing up in the Depression and World War II and how destructive that sort of was to her childhood," said Magnoli, who grew up in the "relatively peaceful" '50s and '60s. "I feel it's a time of uncertainty, uncertainty for my kids, what's their future going to be. But I still am hopeful, hopeful that we can learn to live with each other in a peaceful way."

What do you think about the decade since the attack and the direction for the future?

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