More than 500 Reston residents and former residents paid their respects to Reston founder Bob Simon at a candlelight vigil at Lake Anne Plaza on Friday night. Simon died last week at age 101.
The Reston Chorale sang, several community members spoke about Simon or reflected on growing up in his “new town, and a guitarist played Amazing Grace as people lined the lake with candles.
The lights stretched from Heron House, where Simon spent his final 23 years, all away around and through the main part of the plaza.
“In my mind I see Bob Simon over 50 years ago, who set out to be different type of civil rights leader, who when it wasn’t yet illegal to practice housing discrimination, stretched out his hands of opportunity, developed a planned community full of rich green trees, that was the first racially integrated community in Virginia, welcoming to all people of color and economic backgrounds,” said former Reston Association board member Amanda Andere.
Simon’s absence was also noted at Saturday’s Reston Multicultural Festival.
“I don’t think I have ever been to an event in Reston and Bob was not here,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va 11th). “We have built a special community here in Reston due to Bob’s prodding.”
Twenty-six people from 17 countries were sworn in at a naturalization ceremony on the plaza, which was followed by an afternoon of storytelling, music, dance and other cultural performances (and food and crafts) from around the world.
Saturday also was the official unveiling of We Make Reston, a photo exhibition that is part of the international Inside Out Project. Out of 300 entries, 169 portraits — including one of Simon — were selected for the exhibition.
The photos will be on display for the next four weeks at the Lake Anne Sea Wall,
Jo Ann Rose Gallery at RCC Lake Anne (Indoor exhibit, on display through October 2), Reston Station and South Lakes High School.
For additional pictures, visit Modern Reston.