Griswold, Jewett City firefighters remember Sept. 11

By Janice Steinhagen- Staff Writer
Jewett City - posted Mon., Sep. 16, 2013
Pat Collins of the Griswold Fire Department (right) reads 'The Fireman's Prayer' in honor of the first reponders who lost their lives Sept. 11, 2001. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
Pat Collins of the Griswold Fire Department (right) reads 'The Fireman's Prayer' in honor of the first reponders who lost their lives Sept. 11, 2001. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

Sept. 11 will never be just another day to local firefighters. Even though their short ceremony of remembrance at Jewett City’s Veterans Memorial Park was pulled together at the last minute, the emotion was nonetheless heartfelt, the solemnity nonetheless sincere.

Nearly 20 firefighters and cadets from the Griswold Fire Department and the A.A. Young Hose and Ladder Co. of Jewett City brought their ladder trucks to the park on Taylor Hill Road just before 6:30, with lights flashing but the sirens muted. The handful of people strolling in the park paused to watch as the procession wound its way to the flagpole. There, heads bowed, they listened to Griswold firefighter/EMT Pat Collins read “The Firemen’s Prayer” and observed a moment of silence.

“We’ve done this every year,” Collins said. “We just don’t want to forget those who lost their lives.” Of the casualties in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, 343 were firefighters who responded to the World Trade Center, he said.

Within hours of the terror attack, Collins said, “we had two trucks from each station with crews ready to go down there [to Ground Zero]. There were five of us who were waiting for the call to go down and stand by one of the stations.” The call never came, although other Connecticut units were called to fill in for those who were lost, he said.

Several of the local firefighters have a personal connection to New York first responders. Pauline Marzec, a 27-year veteran of the Griswold Fire Department, said she went to visit the fire station of a firefighter friend from New York some days after the attack, “to thank them and to tell them we’re so sorry [they] had to go through this kind of ordeal.” The station house was awash with flowers, candles and teddy bears, she recalled.

“How fortunate we are here,” said Marzec. “This was the first time in hundreds of years that the United States has gone through such a horrendous ordeal.”

Officers from both fire departments said they intend to form a standing committee to organize future Sept. 11 observances, so that the date won’t slip by unrecognized and future ceremonies will be more widely-publicized and better attended.


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