An organization of Greek Americans whose ancestors come from a region in modern-day Turkey has requested permission to install a monument in a central city park.
The Pontian Society of Norwalk is seeking to install a monument celebrating its history and heritage at Freese Park in downtown Norwalk.
“We are writing to you to explore the possibilities of placing a monument or memorial in a prominent location in our town, for all to see,” Theodorus Giapoutzis, president of the Norwalk Pontian Society, and Kathy Tsilfides, secretary of the society, wrote in a letter to Mayor Harry Rilling last year.
The proposal was discussed at the Common Council’s Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs Committee last week as it will be going before the Arts Commission and could come back before them in the near future, Nick Roberts, the city’s director of recreation and parks told the committee.
“We envision a sculpted monument on a solid piece of granite or marble depicting the exodus of our people,” the letter read. “They left their homelands of more than 2,500 years, taking with them only the few belongings that they could carry, leaving behind them their homes and over 353,000 dead relatives.”
“We are entering a stage where most of our population is becoming third generation,” the letter read. “In our desire to help maintain our heritage by teaching our youth and educating those who are not aware of our history, we have undertaken an attempt to create a lasting symbol of our people.”
In its letter, the society stated that 85 percent of the Norwalk Greek community comes from Pontian heritage, which traces its roots back to the mid-eighth century B.C.
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