Memorial Sites | McCourt Memorial Garden

image #
625 Williams Street
New London, CT 06320
United States
Dedicated to:
Ruth and Juliana McCourt

According to the McCourt Memorial Garden website, "September 11th was a day that no one will ever forget. The New London Community has been deeply affected despite its distance from the attack. Two of its residents, Ruth and four-year old Juliana McCourt were aboard the United Airline flight that struck the World Trade Center. Several residents of the area lost family members and Connecticut College suffered greatly losing several alumni and other members of the Connecticut College family. Ruth McCourt was an avid gardener. She and her mother, Paula Clifford Scott, were active members of the New London Garden Club. Therefore, it is fitting that as a memorial, to Ruth and Juliana and all the victims from the area, friends, neighbors and even those who never knew them, choose to create this Memorial Garden. Envisioned is a contemplative garden, one that reflects the peace and serenity that was so much a part of Ruth, easily accessed by New Londoners and visitors alike, suitable for sitting and reading or meditation - - a space, perhaps with flowing water, a small bridge, sculpture and benches. Possibly even the re-creation of Mr. McGregor’s Garden – a children’s vegetable and flower garden that Ruth so lovingly created with her daughter." Reason site was selected: According to the head of the garden project, Gail Schwenkner-Mayor, they initially wanted to have the garden at a downtown waterfront site, but it was not possible. A discussion over that disappointment with the Lyman Allyn Museum Director led to the serendipitous offer to locate the garden there. Upon reflection they realized that this beautiful site was also where Juliana McCourt took dance lessons and Ruth McCourt's mother holds tea parties. Events planned for site: Schwenkner-Mayor said, "all of the families involved view it as a 'living memoiral.' It's not a place of mourning, it's a place of serenity and enjoyment." They initially planted 1000 daffodil bulbs the first spring, as well as a memorial dogwood dedicated by the Governor. They continued landscaping around the house, and intend to create a children's garden. The garden can be used for any number of tranquil events like weddings and concerts in the grassy performance area. Do you believe your memorial is a sacred place? In answering this questions, Schwenkner-Mayor and her board heavily discussed the meaning of the word "sacred", even looking it up in the dictionary. Ultimately they decided that it is sacred in that it has a spiritual depth and tranquility. She added "Paula Scott, who is Ruth's mother, said that when she first walked the space, it was the first time since September 11th that she felt at peace, felt a sense of tranquility come over her. Being in touch with nature makes her in touch with her daughter.