March and ceremony held in remembrance of Sept. 11 victims

By Kevin Hotary - Staff Writer
Colchester - posted Mon., Sep. 12, 2011
The commemorative 11-mile march began at the Colchester Hayward firehouse and ended at the Town Green. Photos by Kevin Hotary.
The commemorative 11-mile march began at the Colchester Hayward firehouse and ended at the Town Green. Photos by Kevin Hotary.

This year, 2011, marks the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, which left nearly 3,000 dead, and which will remain forever etched in the memories of those who witnessed events unfold, either in person or remotely.

Last Sunday, Sept. 11, the Colchester Hayward Fire Department held an 11-mile march to the Town Green and a memorial service to honor those who were involved, either by circumstance as victims, or by choice, like the many firefighters who risked, and sometimes lost, their lives to help those affected by the attacks.

“Ten years ago, we experienced the worst and the best that humanity has to offer. On this day, we remember the horrors and the triumphs of 9/11,” said Colchester First Selectman Greg Shuster, in opening the ceremony, which took place in front of a fully-extended ladder truck displaying the American flag. This introduction was followed by the ringing of the bell – four rounds of five rings each – a signal that a firefighter has been lost in service.

“They [New York firefighters] set the bar for us. They’ve given something to reach for in our lives,” said deputy chief cadet Katie Wilcox. She hopes to take the test to become a firefighter in the next year, “but even though we’re cadets, we can still do a lot,” she said, as she and fellow cadets Erin Avery and Millery Cafro took part in the ceremony.

“I’m really proud to be a part of the fire department, and to realize that the people I work with risk their lives to help others. I’m really proud to be a part of that,” said Avery.

Although only 5 years old when the attacks occurred, Cafro said that the response by firefighters and others made her want to be a part of that group. “It taught me about people risking their lives. It made me want to be a part of that system,” she said.

Boy Scout Theodore Ball organized a group of Scouts and leaders to take part in the final leg of the hike. Only 16 years old, he remembers being told of the attacks by his brothers when he came home from school. “I had no words,” he said, “I just couldn’t believe that somebody could do that.”

Fellow Scout Jesse Bradstreet, now 17, also remembers that day 10 years ago, although at the time, he said, he wasn’t sure of the significance. “I knew that these giant buildings in New York were destroyed. I knew that something very bad had happened,” he said.

He remembers his mother frantically trying to contact an uncle who lived and worked in New York. “It was pretty scary,” he said.  Fortunately, his uncle was fine, although he did witness the attacks on the twin towers.

Retired Army First Sergeant Gerry Wright followed the hikers in his truck, making sure they were protected from traffic. He stood at a distance at the ceremony, saluting. “It’s our country. We need to be proud of our country. It was a very sad time, and we need to remember,” he said.


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