Irene Anniversary Marked By Somber Remembrance, Cheers

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A series of commemorations marking the first anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene concluded last night on the anniversary of the floods, with an event in Randolph. 

The evening took stock of what’s been accomplished and what remains to be done. 

The statewide evening ringing of bells to mark the anniversary was followed in Randolph by an event at Chandler Music Hall that mixed speeches and performances. 

There were quiet moments of somber remembrance and there were cheers for the nameless volunteers who helped put the state back together, along with shout outs to organizations and businesses.

The crowd was more than patient – they were enthusiastic – as they listened to a succession of speakers.  

Many underscored the twin messages of the evening:  That the state has made a lot of progress in the recovery, but there are people still hurting.  Governor Peter Shumlin had just finished a tour of the towns hardest hit a year ago.

 "In town after town over the last four days I have had people come up to me with tears rolling down their faces," Shumlin said.  " Those are the folks who still have no place to live, who are still waiting for FEMA to tell them something they can believe, who are still waiting for an insurance company in some cases to give them what they deserve.  They are in a tougher place today than they were a year ago."

An art exhibit was also part of the evening and captured many impressions of the flood. 

One whimsical piece by Sarah-Lee Terrat drew inspiration from the classic painting, Washington Crossing The Delaware.   It’s titled Washington County Crossing Main Street. It shows a resolute looking farm couple and their livestock crowded into a rowboat.

The art wasn’t the only original work to be found at last night’s event. 

Singer songwriter Jon Gailmor offered a crowd-pleaser – a song written just for the occasion, whose concluding lines declare, "We’re a state to be reckoned with, next storm beware.  For each other we’re here and we’re one."

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