Barge of roses to salute victims on 9/11 voyage

Monday, September 02, 2002
By David Rivera
2002 Republican-American

A couple will pay tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by sailing to New York City harbor next week on a 99-year-old Dutch barge laden in roses.

Bobbi Andrighetti and Richard Manack said they wanted to do something special to remember those who died last year in New York and Washington, D.C., so they came up with a special plan.

"We'll leave from Hartford in the Connecticut River on Sept. 11 and arrive in New York about two days later," the 56-year-old Manack said. "That's where we'll take part in the anniversary ceremonies that have been scheduled."

Andrighetti said she has a close connection to the terrorist attacks of last year. She was part of the Salvation Army's emergency crews that worked in the area of the World Trade Towers, also known as ground zero.

"We're going to have red and white roses for each of the victims and baby's breath to symbolize the innocence of all the children that are now without parents because of what happened," the 43-year-old Andrighetti said.

The Winsted couple will use a 70-foot steel-hull barge called "The Golden Re'al" as the means of getting to New York. The roses will adorn the old barge that will motor its way to the city.

"We're hoping to get some people to make donations so we can pay for the roses," Andrighetti said. "We need to raise about $2,500 for the flowers alone." The Golden Re'al spent most of its history in Amsterdam, Holland. Twenty years after the barge left the Netherlands, it now plies the tranquil waters in and around Connecticut, Manack said.

Currently, the barge is moored along the shores of the Housatonic River in Shelton.

From 1982 until only recently, however, the barge sat on blocks in Torrington.

"People were always curious about what this thing was," Andrighetti said. "Now it's back in the water."

In the last few months, Manack and Andrighetti have worked hard to restore the barge and make it seaworthy.

In Holland, the barge had many uses, Manack said.

For most of its time, the barge was called The Wilhelmina, after Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.

"The Re'al is an island I lived on in Holland," he said. "I thought it sounded like a great name."

Following World War II, the barge brought food to residents of the devastated Dutch city. Later, in the 1970s and early 1980s, it served as a floating cafe along Amsterdam's scenic waterways.

"I worked on the barge then and lived on it as well," Manack said. "I brought it over from Holland in 1982."

Manack, a self-employed carpenter, said he planned on bringing the boat from Amsterdam in 1982 and sailing it from Connecticut through Long Island Sound and up the Hudson River to Amsterdam, N.Y.

Manack said the Dutch barge's voyage to New York City will have a fitting starting place in Hartford, the site of what will be called Adriaen's Landing, the redeveloped riverfront named after the 17th Century Dutch explorer who charted the area.

Andrighetti and Manack will take part in Hartford's 9-11 candlelight vigil scheduled for the evening of Sept. 10 along the riverfront. The roses will be placed on the barge that evening.

On the morning of Sept. 11, the couple, along with a crew of volunteers who also worked at Ground Zero, will head south out of the Connecticut River and west through Long Island Sound. After an evening stop in New Haven, the Golden Re'al should enter New York City Harbor on Sept. 13.

Andrighetti said when the Golden Re'al sails past the closest point to Ground Zero in a parade of boats, the flowers will be tossed into the harbor.



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