A Visit to the State Capitol

May 25, 2012

Sen. John A. Kissel (center) and St. Bernard School students in the Senate Chamber of the State Capitol.

State Sen. John A. Kissel on May 23 welcomed students from St. Bernard School to the State Capitol .

Sen. Kissel took the students on a multi-floor tour of “The People’s House,” guiding them through the west wing of the Capitol’s first floor where battle flags of Connecticut regiments from the Civil War through modern day hang in the oak cases built specifically for the building in 1878. In the center of the hall is a statue of Civil War Governor, William A. Buckingham. During the Civil War, Buckingham donated funds to Connecticut troops to aid them in purchasing their uniforms and supplies. As a result of the donations, Connecticut’s men were among the first fully prepared for the war.

Sen. John A. Kissel (right) addresses St. Bernard School students in the House Chamber of the State Capitol.

Sen. Kissel then showed the students artifacts from two heroes of the American Revolution: the Marquis De Lafayette’s camp bed and Israel Punam’s tombstone. It is believed that the saying “sleep tight” originated from having to tighten strings and ropes on early beds such as Lafayette’s. Israel Putnam led Connecticut troops at the Battle of Bunker Hill and it is believed that he said “Don’t’ fire ’til you see the whites of their eyes.”

Sen. Kissel then brought the students inside the ornate House and Senate Chambers and discussed how a bill becomes a law.

“The St. Bernard students were terrific,” Sen. Kissel said. “Our State Capitol is a very special place with so much rich history, and we had a fun tour of this beautiful building.”

St. Bernard School is located at 232 Pearl Street in Enfield.