New Canaan Anniversary Program To Focus On The Three R's Of Sept. 11

NEW CANAAN, Conn. — For the first time ever, to recognize the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 tragedy, Grace Farms Foundation of New Canaan is collaborating with Voices of September 11th for a special event focused on remembrance, renewal and resilience.

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes will speak at Voices of September 11th event at Grace Farms on Monday, Sept. 12.
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes will speak at Voices of September 11th event at Grace Farms on Monday, Sept. 12. Photo Credit: Sasha Arutyunova, Courtesy of Grace Farms Foundation

The program will take place Monday, Sept. 12, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Grace Farms Sanctuary in New Canaan. Doors will open at 8:30 a.m.

The event is free, but registration is required; limited lunches are available for $10 with pre-registration.

Those who attend will hear personal reflections from people who lost family members on Sept. 11 as well as from survivors and first responders. In addition, speakers including Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Rep. Jim Himes will talk about preventing another 9/11.

Moderators of the event include Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Local speakers will include: 

  • Mary and Frank Fetchet, of New Canaan, who lost their son on Sept. 11 and both of Voices of September 11th 
  • Bonnie McEneaney, who lost her husband on Sept. 11 and author of "Messages" 
  • Brian Lavigne, 9/11 survivor from Morgan Stanley 
  • Guy Fortt, 9/11 Responder from the Greenwich Fire Department 

In the third portion of the program, John Gannon, first staff director of the House Homeland Security Committee; Scott Bates, former senior policy adviser to the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee; and others will give a progress report on a global threat assessment.

"We are holding this event because we want to recognize the 15th anniversary of 9/11," said Susan Cossette Eng, communications and development director of Voices of September 11th. 

"Traumatic events are happening on a continual basis, both in the United States and abroad. So, we and the Grace Farms Foundation want to bring together a group of thought leaders in public policy as well as folks who are able to talk about global issues.

"We want to prevent another 9/11, but we also want to look at traumatic events from a personal perspective. So, we asked family members, survivors and a personal responder to speak about how those who are impacted recover, heal and move forward."

Those who attend will be looking at 9/11 through the lens of three distinct groups of people. "I think it's going to be really interesting for the local community to get that insight on how to prevent, respond and recover from acts of terrorism and mass violence," Eng said.

"We are really honored to be able to bring such great speakers to the local community. Usually you have to go to New York City for something like this."

According to Gwen North Reiss, communications consultant for Grace Farms, "The event will provide a mixture of voices who have very different views through their work -- either for preventing terrorism, responding to terrorism or recovery."

There may be a greater lesson about recovery after traumatic events. "Voices of September 11th realizes that recovery is a long-term, complex process that can take a very long time," Reiss said.

Voices of September 11th was founded in 2001 in New Canaan to provide information and support to 9/11 families, responders and survivors; to commemorate the lives lost and to promote national preparedness. 

Grace Farms Foundation supports initiatives in the areas of nature, arts, justice, community and faith and encourages participation on a local, national, and global level. 

Grace Farms, which will be celebrating its one-year anniversary in October, has 80 acres of open space.

To register for the event, click here.

Grace Farms is at 365 Lukes Wood Road, New Canaan.

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