This week was the final week for the ‘We Are The World Blogfest.’ That’s sad, but the blogfest was originally set to run for one year, and this weekend marks the end of the fifth year. Sadly, it also marks the end of the blogfest. Kudos to the creators, Damyanti Biswas and Belinda McGrath Witzenhausen and to the co-hosts and the various contributors throughout the past five years.
I am late, as I have been, often in recent years. Running the Thursday Doors challenge has kept me busy, and I have been reluctant to bury that post, since the challenge runs through Saturday. Still, the co-hosts and others involved with WATWB have always welcomed my entry, late as it may have been. That’s because they are kind and gracious people.
I thank them for that, and I thank them for starting this blogfest at a time when the world needed it. The world still needs good stories, and I will continue to look for them and I will try to highlight them here.
The final story I want to share is a local story and one that is long overdue. The little town that I live in has finally honored the Irish Immigrants who built the Windsor Locks Canal almost 200 years ago. I am including a the photo and a few bits of text from The Journal-Inquirer article (I hope you will read it, but the links don’t always work if you’re not a subscriber). I commend this paper for their coverage of this important event.
“Today has special meaning because we finally pay tribute to men who devoted their lives, and many of them gave their lives,… the brave, stalwart laborers opened a world of commerce in the state by building the canal, which allowed ships to bypass the Enfield rapids on the Connecticut River and bring goods to towns downstream such as Hartford.”U.S. Sen. From Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal
Our current First Selectman, Paul Harrington said that the idea to honor the canal workers came from former selectman Chris Kervick, who spent two decades researching them after discovering from an article that their names were unknown.
“That description just rattled me,” Kervick said. Kervick also discovered that when the Irish canal workers arrived in America, they were not welcomed.Chris Kervick
“We feared them, we isolated them, and when they suffered, we ignored them.”
Kervick added that he had learned of one incident when a past first selectman refused to allow one of the canal workers who had been killed during construction to be buried in a town cemetery, only relenting when the worker’s body was dropped off on his front door.
Today, the canal supplies water to a gas co-generation plant. In exchange for the water, the owners of the plant have agreed to maintain the canal. The Canal and the mule path are now part of a Connecticut State Park. Our family has ridden bikes and walked along the canal for decades. It is a treasure to have, and we owe it to the brave men who built it with their bare hands.
Other than the last photo, the pictures in the gallery were taken along the Windsor Locks Canal over many years.