Slideshow: Darien remembers Sept. 11 at annual ceremony Wednesday morning at town memorial
Under sunny skies Wednesday morning at Middlesex Middle School in Darien, several dozen eighth graders stood quietly together in deep reflection at the town’s 16th annual 9-11 remembrance ceremony.
While they don’t remember what happened on this day in 2001, they will understand its significance.
Aside from students, teachers and school administrators, Darien’s first responders and town officials were at the ceremony, paying tribute to all those who lost their lives on this day 18 years ago as terrorists killed nearly 3,000 people.
This was the very first time that the ceremony, which was given by Darien’s Monuments & Ceremonies Commission, was attended by students.
“It’s 18 years since this happened. No student in the Darien school system was even born then,” said Dave Polett, chairman of the commission, to a crowd of about 100 people.
“You remember because you learn about it and because the adults tell you about it, and you study that history,” he said. “And you keep that memory going for the ages.”
Darien lost six people on that fateful day.
“We have to keep their memory alive,” Polett said. “We have to do for them what they can no longer do.”
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson placed a wreath behind the 9-11 monument, and then about a dozen individuals placed red roses on the monument.
Aside from being a place to reflect on what happened “on that heinous day back in 2001,” the monument is there “to take steps so that we don’t have a re-occurance,” Polett said. “We have to be vigilant in this day and age.”
At 8:46 a.m., the moment when the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center, Polett held a moment of silence.
Darien Police Chief Don Anderson told The Darien Times that the ceremony is something Darien Police Department is “honored” to come to.
“The reason we find it so fitting is that our officers met the trains where men and women were coming back from New York City and their spouses were waiting in the train station,” he recalled.
“The train would arrive and the husband and wife were reunited, and off they went, and the crowd got smaller and smaller and smaller until finally there were five or six wives left,” he said, adding it’s something the officers will never forget.
Stevenson reflected on two trees that stood side by side a few feet from the monument.
“I’ve come every year of the ceremony, but this year in particular, the trees are tall and sturdy and it reminds me of where America is post 9-11,” she told The Darien Times. “It took us a long time to get our feet back under us but I think we have, and that’s what those trees represent for me today.”
Whenever someone is lost in the United States, everyone is affected by it, Polett said to the crowd.
“It’s a sign that we were all diminished somewhat on that day. It has changed us forever,” he said.
Polett recalled his own memory of that day, and the day after.
“The next day, the American flag was in every window of every house. There was a tremendous surge of patriotism in Connecticut,” he said. “It’s a surge that I think is still moving on pretty steadily.”