SOUTHINGTON — Dark skies did not stop dozens of residents, firefighters, and police officers from gathering at the town’s 9/11 memorial Tuesday morning for a ceremony to honor the fallen.
Moments before the ceremony, the rope on the newly constructed flag pole fell and firefighters promptly used an engine ladder to re-attach the rope to raise the flag.
As the national anthem played, firefighters, officers and veterans in uniform saluted the flag as it was raised, then brought down to half staff. The ceremony began at 8:46 a.m., the time the first airplane struck the World Trade Center 17 years ago.
Roger Mathieu, who led the ceremony, remarked that the actions of the first responders were an example of how they help citizens every day. Mathieu said the country has dedicated individuals, both in the fire department and police departments, who have made us safe through their service.
”When you take into consideration the families...you begin to realize the impact that day had on so many lives,” he said.
Mathieu said his company, Mathieu Memorials, designed and donated the 9/11 memorial to the town in 2003. He said the ceremony began in 2004 with a small group of people and has grown since.
Fire Chief Richard Butler said organizers are doing a great job of keeping the memory of the victims alive.
“In this country today we have a tendency to be only in the moment and this makes everybody remember,” Butler said.
Several town officials gave comments regarding the importance of remembering the day. After a prayer, several attendees wiped away tears as “Amazing Grace” played.
A moment of silence was followed by the ringing of a bell 15 times.
Linda Remire said she has attended the 9/11 memorial ceremony for the last five years. Although she did not lose family or friends on that day, Remire said the people of America “all share a soul” and can come together to remember.
“It’s to honor fellow Americans,” Remire said. “Not only the ones who have passed, but the families that have been left behind.”