Woman’s Club Ornament Depicts 9/11 Memorial Grove
Twenty years after the tragic events of 9/11, the Newtown Woman’s Club has selected an image for its 2021 pewter Christmas ornament that many local residents and visitors are very familiar with — the small grove of trees on the Newtown/Bethel border painted to replicate an unfurled American flag.
“A sense of patriotism is nothing new to the residents of Newtown who, for nearly 150 years, have been bragging about the 100-foot ‘Liberty Pole’ that stands in the middle of Main Street,” said Woman’s Club spokesperson LeReine Frampton. “That great symbol of national pride, the first of which was erected in 1876 for the nation’s centennial, shares a place in Newtown’s heart with a much more recent monument to the nation, and the sacrifices and struggles of its people: the Memorial Flag Trees.”
Filling in some of the backstory, Frampton explained that the Memorial Trees were commissioned by Howard Lasher, a Wall Street broker and Newtown resident who was present in New York on September 11, 2001 and wanted to do something to remember nine of his close friends who lost their lives in the World Trade Center attack.
After organizing a memorial service at St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York for the lives lost that day, he was struck with the idea to create a permanent memorial on his property in Newtown.
She said Lasher was introduced to David Merrill, a local artist living in Southbury, who has painted many area scenes and is perhaps most notable in Newtown for creating the beautiful murals in the stairwells of the Edmond Town Hall and the veterans mural in the Municipal Center.
The two men spent some time exploring Lasher’s property in search of the proper spot for the memorial and eventually decided the six maple trees near the entrance of the Dodgingtown Road home were the place to put it, Frampton said.
The Memorial Flag Trees quickly became known throughout the area as a poignant and evocative memorial to the lives lost on 9/11.
“Many have noted how the flag seems to wave slightly as travelers drive by, and the lights that shine on the memorial make it a unique and easily recognizable landmark both day and night,” Frampton noted. “Several ‘touch-ups’ over the years have kept the image vibrant and it remains not only as a lasting memorial, but also as a piece of this nation’s history after an unfathomable tragedy — preserved for future generations to contemplate and remember.”
The 2021 ornament — the 34th in a series — was crafted by Woodbury Pewter.
It can be obtained for a donation of $20, with proceeds being distributed by the Woman’s Club to a variety of local community organizations. Purchase ornaments while supplies last at The Toy Tree, The Newtown Bee, the C.H. Booth Memorial Library, and the town clerk’s office in the Newtown Municipal Center — or by calling Woman’s Club members Pat Bailey at 203-426-3287; Millie Anderson at 203-426-6003; or Frampton at 203-948-4253.
Learn more about the Newtown Woman’s Club GFWC by visiting nwc-gfwc.org.
Editor John Voket can be reached at email@example.com.