9/11 memorial service in Enfield, Conn. remembers all

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead
  • 103rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs
The Town of Enfield Volunteer Firefighter's Association held a ceremony at their Weymouth Rd. Station on Sept. 11, 2010, to memorialize the tragic events that changed America on Sept. 11, 2001. Various speakers at the event, including Representative Joe Courtney and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, talked about 9/11 and brought to the podium thoughts, prayers and reflections of the past nine years since the twin towers were struck.

"Enfield has really provided a model of, not only remembering, but serving and honoring people who really deserve it; our first responders, our police, our firemen who ran into the building on 9/11," said Blumenthal.

Since 2002, people have gathered and placed a wreath of remembrance in front of the firehouse's memorial garden to "never forget," according to Staff Sgt. Brian Ellis who described the theme of the memorial.

"It's one big thing, to remember everybody from the military to fire police and EMS. It's one tragic day that everyone took a hit," said Ellis, a Conn. Air National Guard firefighter and Lieutenant with the Enfield Volunteer Firefighter's Association. "We don't want to forget those times."

The idea to build the memorial is attributed to Ellis after receiving a donation from Riley's School of Dance in Enfield.

The wall of the memorial is symbolic of America before, during and after the attacks of Sept. 11th, said Ellis.

On the far left side of the wall, the stone and rock is well-placed and solid but as the wall continues to the center, the rocks are in disarray and look like they have fallen. Only on the far right side of the semi-circular wall do the stones come back together to form a solid wall again.

"On the wall, we have it really solid in one spot. The United States was built real strong. September 11th, we got knocked down, now we're in the rebuilding phase where it's getting pretty solid. So that's how the wall is built up front."

In back of the memorial two granite pillars represent the twin towers and acid stone lying beneath represents Flight 93 in Pennsylvania.

After bringing the memorial to life, Ellis has continued to coordinate the annual day of remembrance at the Fire House.

Represented at the memorial event were firefighters, police officers, servicemembers, veterans, first-responders and others who paid honor and respect in their own way, such as the Quaboag Highlanders, bagpipers who saluted the fallen with song.

Along with K.T. DeSilva, owner of Riley's School of Dance, the Quaboag Highlanders received a special token of appreciation from the Connecticut National Guard. They each received a flag flown during Operation Iraqi Freedom from Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam. The flags were furnished by the 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry Regiment, and were presented by Sgt. Ellis and Lt. Col. James Quagliaroli, director of staff - Air National Guard.

It's a memorial for everybody--to remember everybody; the community comes out as a group to see and share and remember Sept. 11th, said Ellis.

After the wreath laying and speakers, the firehouse opened up its door for a local cook-out, inviting all who came to the memorial to stay and enjoy a meal as a community.

The event was a "truly grassroots event," said Representative Joe Courtney, referring to the amount of time and care from local sponsors that went into building the memorial.
Courtney continued by saying, "Enfield is a pretty special place on September 11th, to make sure that the people of this country and also the people of this state remember the events which occurred there."

Additionally, in a gubernatorial proclamation from Gov. M. Jodi Rell and read by Senator John Kissell, the Governor proclaimed honor and recognition upon the Enfield volunteer firefighter's association in Connecticut and urged all citizens to recognize the memorial garden to remember those lost during Sept. 11, 2001.