Stamford is Celebrating!
This past Sunday, myself and over 200 Stamford-ites went down to the Old Town Hall steps and helped to celebrate the opening ceremony of Stamford375! This year the City of Stamford turns 375 years young and the Stamford375.org committee have months of events scheduled to mark the occasion.
In 1641, 29 Puritan settlers and their families came to Rippowam (Stamford’s former name) from Weathersfield after a rift within the congregation of the Church of Christ. These intrepid folks decided to come to Southwestern Connecticut to farm, raise their families and start their own sect of The First Congregational Church. Its first meeting house was built in the area of what is now known as Veteran’s Park and this is what brings us to Sunday’s ceremony!
While this ceremony was billed as a ‘multi-faith’ event in honor of our founding fathers, you needn’t be of a particular faith to go and enjoy a wonderful few hours in the Spring sunshine learning about our history and hearing some inspirational speeches. The tagline of: Many Faiths, One Community: Stamford Proud was quite apropos for such an event.
It began with Sandy Goldstein of DSSD taking the mic to welcome everyone there and with her usual enthusiasm introduced to us all committee members and participants of the day’s event. She served as emcee and with Stamford’s first meeting house established just yards away from the Old Town Hall steps, it was truly fitting to have Downtown Special Service District open the months-long celebrations.
Mayor David Martin took to the podium next to fill us in more on the vision of Stamford375. This was the first time I had seen Mayor Martin speak in person and you could truly see how excited he is about this city-wide project.
From the Stamford Historical Society, Ron Marcus gave us insight on the Religious Faith in Stamford from 1641 to the present. The Historical Society is such a great resource for all of us who live here and it was an honor for me to hear Ron speak.
We had inspiring talks given by both Rabbi Daniel Cohen and Monsignor Stephen Giovanni that I personally took a lot from. While I am not of any religion, inspiration and learning come from everyone around you. This day had many voices to be heard. The message of paying it forward or as Rabbi Cohen referred to, “Finding your Elijah” was definitely something that everyone could get behind no matter who you are.
Speaker Mark Levine got up and surprised many of us with a short list of names of celebrities, sports icons, writers and more who have/had lived in Stamford over the years. From Jackie Robinson to J.D. Salinger to Joseph Lieberman…the list goes on and on. While he limited the list for speaking purposes to but a few, if you’d like to see a longer list of those who both called and presently call Stamford their home: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_from_Stamford,_Connecticut
The Union Baptist Church Choir graced us with their voices and gave us beautiful renditions of The Star Spangled Banner, My Country Tis of Thee and God Bless America. They were truly wonderful and later, led everyone in the ‘faith walk’ over to Veteran’s Park for the wreath laying ceremony.
After everyone gathered around in the park area, Mayor Martin and Reverend Dr. Todd Grant-Yonkman, Pastor of the First Congregational Church of Stamford laid a wreath commemorating the spot where the first meeting house was assembled 375 years ago. With the choir singing in the background, it made for a moving moment that I was proud to be a part of.
If you’ve followed WOTM for any time, you know what a passion I have for local history. It was inspiration for my post (around Halloween time) called The Stranger Side of Stamford. After I posted it, I had a number of folks thank me for posting it as they didn’t know a lot about the history of the city. That’s what is so exciting to me about the Stamford375 project! It’s getting residents interested in learning more about where they live!!
I often say in posts and in hashtags: learn where you live and stop and look around. I think it’s important, I really do. This was a great day to do both!
While at Veteran’s Park the other day, I took the time to really look at the monuments and memorials that reside there. Many of us walk through that park on a daily basis or run through it to get to the mall or maybe to catch a bus. How often do you stop and look at what has been placed there?
One that I’ve never seen before was the most fitting for the day we had just had. It was a tablet set in a large stone commemorating the spot where the 29 Puritan settlers made their home 375 years ago. And THAT is what we are going to be celebrating for the rest of the year. Whether it was the celebration downtown, or future events in North Stamford at the Historical Society, down at Mill river Park, Fort Stamford, Cumming Park, etc, the rest of this year will be packed with fun activities that everyone can attend, enjoy and maybe learn a thing or two!
Our tagline here on WOTM is KEEP IT LOCAL. You can’t get much more local than this!!!
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For the pics I took during the event, please see our album on WOTM’s FB page: http://bit.ly/1S9QsP1
For more information, schedule of events and more: Stamford375.org
1641 Monument at Veteran’s Park
#wotm #keepitlocal #wotmnation #stamford375 #stamforddowntown #dssd #learnwhereyoulive #stopandlookaround #saveourhistory