The Sept. 11 attacks killed 156 people with ties to Connecticut, and even eight years cannot strip away the pain for the victims’ family and friends.
Wednesday night, about 300 people gathered at Connecticut's 9/11 memorial on Westport’s Sherwood Island State Park to remember state residents who died in the attacks eight years ago. Manhattan is visible from the Westport memorial site, where many people gathered on the day of the attacks and saw smoke filling the sky.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell said at Wednesday's anniversary ceremony that the pain of losing loved ones never goes away, but she urged the crowd to be strong and do the things that the victims would have wanted them to do.
The community is also still mourning the death of Beverly Eckert, of Stamford, whose husband was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center.
Eckert, who became a prominent activist for the families of 9/11 victims, died Feb. 12, 2009 when a commuter plane she was on crashed near Buffalo, New York. She had been traveling to a celebration of what would have been her husband’s 58th birthday.
“Once again we honor the missing, remember their tremendous potential and gather to share comfort. … And as we have, and always will, we also rededicate ourselves to the simple principle that we must go on,” Rell said. “Innocent men, women and children – on a plane, at the office, on the street – taken from us. We remember them, and we go on in strength. Our strength comes to us in many different ways – through faith, through memory, through sharing with others. But it is there, and it gets us through every single day.”
The memorial to the victims of the terrorist attacks is located on a peninsula at Sherwood Island State Park where people gathered on 9/11 to observe lower Manhattan. Later, the park was used as a staging area for Connecticut’s relief efforts to New York City.
Family and friends of the victims left flowers and other items at the memorial markers inscribed with the names of the Connecticut victims Wednesday.
Several ceremonies are being held across the state:
Avon: On Friday, Sept. 11, 8:30 a.m., the Avon Volunteer Fire Department, Company 3, will hold a public memorial service at 490 West Avon Road.
Fairfield: The Fairfield Fire Department will host a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony on Friday, Sept. 11 at 9 a.m. on the front ramp of Fire Headquarters at 140 Reef Road.
Milford has moved its Sept. 11 ceremony indoors to the City Hall Auditorium, 110 River St. in, Milford. The ceremony begins at noon Friday.
New Haven: On Friday, Sept. 11, at 10 a.m., East Rock students from the "English to Speakers of Other Languages" program will march from East Rock school, at 133 Nash St., to the 9/11 monument on Edwards Street, and recite poems about peace, hope and love that were written by Mattie Stepanek, a boy who died of a terminal illness at age 14.
New Milford: A ceremony will be held on Friday, Sept. 11, at 8:48 a.m. at the 9-11 Memorial Site, in Patriots Way Plaza behind the Railroad Station parking area. Those participating in the service are asked to begin assembling at 8 a.m.
Norwich: A ceremony on Sept. 11, at 8 a.m., at City Hall Plaza will honor the victims and their families, as well as emergency service personnel and civilians who were at the site.
West Haven: A flag-raising ceremony will be held on Friday, Sept. 11, at 6:30 p.m., at the William A. Soderman Memorial Flagpole in Bradley Point Park. A candlelight vigil will follow at 7 p.m. at the 9/11 memorial on the beach walk by the Savin Rock Conference Center, 6 Rock St. If it rains, both ceremonies will take place at 7 p.m. in the West Haven High School auditorium, 1 Circle St.
Wethersfield: On Sunday, Sept. 13, the Richard M. Keane Foundation will sponsor a family picnic from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Broad Street Green to honor Wethersfield residents who died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and to thank Wethersfield volunteers and supporters of the Keane Foundation. The U.S. Air Force band "Afterburner," a rock and R&B band, will perform. Bring your own blanket or tables and chairs and a picnic supper.
Enfield: Monday, Sept. 14, Asnuntuck Community College will hold a candlelight vigil for peace and the safe return of our troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, followed by an evening of poetry and music commemorating September 11, 2001. A candlelight vigil will be held from 6.30-7 p.m. outside the front entrance of the college. At 7 p.m., the Poetry for Peace reading will begin in the Coffee House in Café II.