Gov. Dannel Malloy will speak at Middletown's annual remembrance ceremony honoring the victims of Sept. 11 Wednesday at the South District Fire House on Randolph Road.
The event, which will include other dignitaries including Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, will coincide with dedication of the city's permanent 9/11 Memorial and Memorial Garden.
The Memorial Garden has as its focal point a section of a steel beam from the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The beam stands vertically atop a concrete pedestal at the center of the garden. South Fire District has been designated as a curator for the Sept. 11 artifact which remains the property of the Port Authority of New York, the agency that owned the World Trade Center.
The ceremony is open to the public and will begin at 8:30 a.m. It will be interrupted for moments of silence at 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m, the exact times when the two planes flew into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center.
Public parking for the ceremony will be in the field located directly across Lee Street from the firehouse (the same field used for parking during the annual Open House in October).
Handicapped parking will be in a designated area on the west side of the South District Headquarters.
The artifact that is the centerpiece of the memorial, a large piece of a steel beam from the North Tower of the World Trade Center, was set in place on a concrete pedestal last year with the help of O & G Industries. The steel beam remains the property of the Port Authority of New York.
The South Fire District is one of 2,000 entities that have been designated as curators of artifacts from the Twin Towers collapse. Because 343 members of the Fire Department of New York died on 9/11, the memorial takes on special meaning to all members of the firefighting brotherhood, including those at South Fire District.
“With each passing year, it is imperative that we never forget the innocent lives lost, the families who faced tragedy, and the brave and selfless acts of our first responders and civilians who committed extraordinary acts of heroism on that day twelve years ago,” Malloy said.
“Let us pray for the brave men and women of the military that our state has lost in the ongoing battle to keep us safe since September 11, 2001, including most recently an airman from New Fairfield who last week lost his life in Afghanistan while serving our country.
“For those who lost loved ones on that horrible day and in the military conflicts that followed, the pain will not disappear even as years stretch into decades,” Wyman said. “That is why it is so important that we, as a nation and a state and a community, stand together in resolve to always honor their memory and what they meant to their families.”
In all, 161 victims with ties to Connecticut were killed as a result of the attacks.
Malloy has proclaimed Sept. 11 as “Honor our Heroes and Remembrance Day” in the State of Connecticut and has ordered flags in the state, which are currently flying at half-staff in tribute to Staff Sergeant Todd Lobraico of New Fairfield, to also remain lowered during the day in observance of the anniversary.
Following the anniversary, flags throughout Connecticut should continue flying at half-staff until the burial services for Staff Sergeant Lobraico are held.
The governor is also encouraging residents to join President Obama in a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. Wednesday.
Middletown observed the 11th anniversary of Sept. 11 last year with two ceremonies — a police and fire color guard procession on the South Green and plans for a landscaped path at the South District firehouse, to memorialize all those lost.
J. Bruce Eagleson, who grew up in the Wesleyan Hills section of Middletown, was among the 148 Connecticut victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. He lived in Middlefield with his wife Gail, who is the sister of Middletown Common Councilwoman Hope Kasper.
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