An observation of the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was featured at the first meeting of the Darien Senior Men's Association on Sept. 8.

The speaker was Al Jones of WINS News in New York, the son-in-law of SMA member Wally Pugh. Jones was in Manhattan on the day of the attack and was a mere two blocks away when the second of the twin towers collapsed. He gave a riveting account of his memories of the day, including recordings from newscasts which reflected first amazement at the time the first plane struck, shock as the towers burned and, finally, horror as they collapsed. Jones recently revisited the site and the new tower, which is under construction. He described the memorial garden as "amazing and gorgeous with calming cascading water which directs the attention of the viewer to the engravings in bronze listing the victims of the attack."

The meeting is the first of a new season of Wednesday morning meetings which will run through the first week of June 2012.

The Senior Men's Association is sponsored by the Darien Community Association and its weekly meetings take place at the DCA's Meadowlands at 274 Middlesex Road in Darien. The weekly meetings consist of a short business meeting, a coffee hour and a program. In addition to the presentation by Jones, the September meetings will include: Bill Sheft, a comedy writer, novelist and staff writer for the David Letterman Show; Jessica Speart, an investigative journalist and author of "Winged Obsession;" and Rollie Stitchweh, former captain and quarterback of the Army football team at West Point during the era of Roger Staubach's stint at Annapolis.

The Senior Men's Association is headed by its recently-elected president, John Podkowsky, assisted by first and second vice presidents, Bob Ready and Bill Ball, who are also responsible for arranging for the weekly programs. Tom Taylor is the treasurer and Bob Smith is the secretary.

A number of activity groups have been organized by the SMA, some of which continue throughout the year. These include various sports activities, a singing group, a computer class, an investment club, walking tours of New York City and environs, and a group called "Retired Old Men Eating Out," i.e. the "Romeos." A social events committee organizes a variety of interesting trips, an annual picnic and an annual Christmas lunch and dance. A bi-monthly newsletter is published to keep members up to date.

Visit sma.darien.org for more information. The site includes information about programs, activities and membership. In addition, a membership table is manned by Chick Scribner to answer any questions about the association.

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