At Windsor Locks Middle School, Sen. Kissel Remembers 9/11 Attacks [Windsor Locks Patch]

September 11, 2012

Article as it appeared in the Windsor Locks Patch

State Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, speaks to the assembly at Windsor Locks Middle School about is 9/11 experiences. Credit Larry Smith

State Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, speaks to the assembly at Windsor Locks Middle School about is 9/11 experiences. Credit Larry Smith

Students, faculty and guests at Windsor Locks Middle School took an hour Tuesday morning in remembrance of the anniversary of the terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001.

Several speakers told their memories of that and how it affected their lives. The assembly also included videos about the day, people affected by it and what can be done moving forward.

Teacher Eric Refsnider, a retired U.S. Army Major, told the students that many of them were just one years old when the attacks happened and can’t remember what happened.

Refsnider told them that it is important to remember that the attacks just didn’t impact America, more than 300 people from 50 other countries who were killed in the attacks.

“This not only affected America but the whole world,” Refsnider said.

Officer Kenneth Precourt, of the Windsor Locks Police Department, remembered how the department was preparing with Bradley International Airport officials to receive flights of injured victims from New York to be treat in area hospitals. Buses were parked in lots on Route 75 waiting.

“Unfortunately no planes came in,” Precourt said.

During the rest of the day, he and fellow officers noticed that normal amount of calls to the department dropped, he said.

“All we kept saying was this is weird nobody was out,” Precourt said.

Physical education teacher Brian Deming said he remembered several tragic events that happened during his lifetime such as the Challenger space shuttle explosion, the 1989 San Francisco earthquake and the Oklahoma City bombing.

Deming said he was a teacher at Parkman School in Enfield on September 11, 2001 and had just finished teaching a 2nd grade class when he heard about the plane flying into the World Trade Center. Just like others he thought it had to be an accident until he watched TV as the second plane fly into the building.

“I will remember that day for the rest of my life,” Deming said. “I don’t think there’s a person alive whose life hasn’t been changed by the events if September 11, 2001.”

The guest speaker during the assembly was State Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, who said he remembers thinking like other people when he first heard a plane hit the twin towers that it was probably a small plane such as a Piper Cub. Then he watched with co-workers at a law firm the video of what happened.

“It was the most harrowing, scary thing we’d ever seen,” Kissel said. “We didn’t know if it was a long protracted attack on our nation.”

Kissel said he was supposed to receive an award in Portland that night and was surprised that the event wasn’t canceled. As he and his wife drove down I-91 to Portland, the only vehicles they saw were emergency ones from other states heading to help New York City.

It was also strange that day for people used to hearing planes flying in and out of Bradley that day.

“You get used to it, but there was nothing that day,” Kissel said.

One lesson from the tragedies was that he learned to determine what’s important in your life and what’s not, he said.

“You never know what can happen, in the blink of an eye, it can be taken away,” Kissel said.

Teacher Jennifer Necci said she was a freshman in college when the attacks happened. She remembered crowding around a television with her roommates to see what happened.

Necci said she got a phone call from her now-husband who called to say his uncle worked at Cantor Fitzgerald, a financial firm in the World Trade Center. The uncle had been delayed getting to work and had pulled in the parking lot of the building when one of the planes struck.

He called the office and was told not to come in and get out of the building, she said. The firm lost 658 employees that day.

“He definitely was one of the lucky ones,” Necci said.

At the end of Tuesday’s assembly, Principal Gregory Blanchfield led everyone in the pledge of allegiance.