BEACON FALLS — It was a day on which the weather resembled the serenity and perfection that proved to be a misleading harbinger of what was to come on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
But on this day, 10 years later, in a small town 85 miles from where terrorists killed nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center, several hundred people paused to remember a tragedy that will burn brightly in their collective memory as the sun did on both occasions.
A number of dignitaries, including Beacon Falls First Selectman Susan Cable, state Rep. Len Greene, Jr. (R-105), and state Sen. Joe Crisco (D-17), reflected on the meaning of the day during the remembrance ceremony, which was organized jointly by St. Michael’s Church and the Beacon Falls Congregational Church.
Cable stressed the need for people to not take their lives and freedom for granted.
“Aren’t we all lucky to be here, and aren’t we all proud that we’re Americans?” Cable said. “We have survived so much, and people are still fighting for us. It’s extremely important to remember those who continue to sacrifice to keep us safe in our beautiful community.”
Greene put in perspective the historical significance of the attacks.
“They say every generation has a watershed moment—that they will always remember what they were doing when they found out about what was going on,” Greene said. “For my grandparents’ generation, it was Pearl Harbor. For my parents’ generation, it was when President Kennedy was shot. For us, it was Sept.11.”
He also emphasized the challenge to fully grasp what happened 10 years ago.
“It’s very difficult to say a few words without realizing they sound kind of hollow,” Greene said. “I know many of us are here to remember what happened that day. But it’s tough to remember that there real human beings involved. There’s the news and media hoopla that goes on, but we forget the real people who suffered through that day.”
Crisco acknowledged the sense of community inspired by the tragedy and was pleased with the joint effort to stage the ceremony by both churches as well as Beacon Hose Co. No. 1, Boy Scout Troop 104, American Legion Post 25, and others.
“That’s the way it should be—no difference in religion, no difference in party affiliation, everybody working together as one organization to help people’s lives,” Crisco said.
Guest speaker Jeremy Rodorigo, Beacon Hose Co. No. 1 public information officer, recounted his personal experience in the aftermath of the attacks. Rodorigo organized a small relief party from Beacon Hose to travel by ambulance and rescue vehicle with supplies desperately needed by workers at ground zero.
The fire company garnered donations from the local Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Peter Paul, with generous responses that Rodorigo could take “as much as you can fit in your vehicle” and “empty the shelves.”
As the group drove directly to ground zero—not knowing they were supposed to bring the supplies to the Javits Center for organized distribution—the small convoy was waved through before parking just outside the perimeter of “the pile,” the massive heap left by the skyscrapers’ collapses.
“Beacon Hose was one of the first few groups to get supplies to ground zero,” Rodorigo said. “It was as if we were handing out gold to the rescue workers.”