WALLINGFORD — Although Kyle Bonet was only 2 years old at the time, the events of Sept. 11, 2001, have shaped his life, he said in a speech at the 9/11 remembrance ceremony Sunday at Town Hall.
Bonet said his father, Jaime Bonet, saw “how 9/11 affected the nation as a whole.” A volunteer firefighter since 1999, he applied to become a firefighter in a couple of towns near New York City and eventually joined the Hamden Fire Department.
“He wanted to become a firefighter because he wanted to make a difference in the lives of others,” Bonet said.
In his speech, he acknowledged his lack of memories of Sept. 11, 2001, and focused on how he experienced the “direct results of 9/11.”
“It happened 15 years ago, but I know some remember it like it was yesterday,” he said. “9/11 means to me today what it means to all of you, a day of great sadness for the entire nation.”
The annual remembrance is a joint effort by the Wallingford Fire Department, the Public Celebrations Committee and the Parks and Recreation Department.
An early morning cloudy sky moved the ceremony inside. The crowd reached about 250, with the number of attendees equaling the number of participants.
Members of the Wallingford Fire Department and Wallingford Police Department performed color guard duties as veterans and fraternal groups and Boy Scout Troop 1 lined the walls of the Town Hall council chambers. Fire Lt. William Massey rang a ceremonial bell, once for every 100 people who died.
Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. was master of ceremonies.
“We may not know anyone who was there, but it affects every person who would only think for a fraction of a second about the events,” Dickinson said.
He said those who died are an inspiration and example, since they “showed up for work and performed their duties at a time of great need.”
Music teacher Lisa Zolkiewicz-Ives sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America.”
She said singing at the 9/11 remembrance “sets a good example (for her students) to be involved in civic functions.” She teaches at Cook Hill and Parker Farms elementary schools.
State Rep. Mary Mushinsky said she recalls visiting the temporary 9/11 memorial in New York that had hundreds of photos of firefighters and other first responders who perished.
After 15 years, “it’s more poignant because some of the kids were babies when their parents were killed, or teenagers, and they get it more now,” Mushinsky said. “A lot of young people were killed, so they had a lot of children left behind.”
Board of Education member Patrick Reynolds said the intention of the terror attack had the opposite result.
“Remember the days after? People just rallied,” Reynolds said, “but the first responders are the ones that risked their lives.”
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