Windsor Park Stories To Ask "What Is America?"

Shortly after September 11, Tony Mussari and Kitch Loftus found themselves at Ground Zero in New York. Staring at the site of the disaster, they began a journey that took them to three states in search of an answer to a simple question, "What Is America?"

This year viewers of Windsor Park Stories will be introduced to a number of people who will offer a number of answers to the question. At Point Thank You in New York, Musssari and Loftus met John Dennie, a retired postal worker who talked about the importance of saying thank you to the rescue workers who were risking their lives as they searched for survivors.

There along the West Side Highway they also met Lenore Fiore-Mills, an art teacher from Scranton who went every weekend to Point Thank You to stand with hundreds of volunteers to say thank you to the workers as they passed in front of the makeshift gratitude wall at Christopher Street. "It was one of the best experiences of my life," Fiore-Mills said during her interview in Windsor Park.

In August, Windsor Park Stories went to Shanksville, and there Mussari and Loftus found a new home. A one-day shoot turned into a five-month continuing relationship, which has produced seven episodes, a public screening of Windsor Park Stories and a community dinner for a delegation of 11 students from King's College, 6 people from Point Thank You in New York, 34 friends and supporters of Windsor Park Stories and the community of Shanksville.

This season viewers will learn about Shanksville from the residents of the town that was thrust into the national spotlight on September 11. Janie Kiehl will describe her duties as a Flight 93 Ambassador at the Temporary Memorial to the victims of the crash. Leigh Snyder will outline the steps she is taking to collect and publish memorabilia of the events in Shanksville. Chuck Wagner will tell the riveting story of what he experienced working in the impact zone.

Val McClatchey will detail how her life was transformed by the digital picture she took seconds after the crash. It is the only image that exists of the aftermath. Marilyn Albright will describe the work of the Salvation Army.

In the following weeks, Windsor Park Stories will take its viewers to PS 3 in New York and to the Chartiers Valley School outside of Pittsburgh where elementary school students will provide answers to the question, "What Is America?"

Viewers will also be treated to a special visit to the Longaberger Basket Company in Ohio where employees will share their views on what it means to be an American.

"Windsor Park Stories slows time down and eliminates distractions and nonsense," writes Dave Thackara, one of the people who attended the private screening of three of the "What Is America?" episodes in Shanksville on September 21, 2002. "Windsor Park Stories represents the ideals of its namesake," Thackara continues, "shunning celebrity and letting people, not names, tell a story. Mussari and Loftus have something to be proud of. They've lifted the spirits of a town trampled on by outsiders carrying cameras and microphones. No small feat for a project with no budget and a two-person crew."

"This has been the most ambitious undertaking in our career," said Mussari. "It is a signature piece in every sense of the word. These stories are real. They are filled with emotion, and they help us to put together a portrait of what America is on its best days."

"Shanksville is a place of enormous suffering and incredible peace. It's a place that contains all of the contradictions of life," he says. "I wanted people to see it, to feel it, and hopefully it will touch them in ways no one will ever touch them."

This month Mussari and Loftus will begin broadcasting their answers to the question "What is America?" on Windsor Park Stories. For details on dates and times please refer to Schedule Updates.

In the March issue of the WVIA Journal, the producers of Windsor Park Stories will tell you about the other episodes that will make up the 6th season of the Series.

* * *

Back to Windsor Park Stories homepage | Back to Leadernet homepage