GREENWICH — The tragedy and the horror of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks hit close to home for so many in Greenwich as 33 with close ties to the town were killed.
On Monday evening, the Sept. 11 Memorial in Cos Cob Park was a gathering spot for a crowd of close to 250 people for the annual ceremony to mark the attacks and pay tribute to those who were lost. Under a bright blue sky that many remarked was similar to the one on the day of the attacks, honor guards from the Greenwich Police Department and Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich set the tone as the victims were mourned and first responders saluted.
A silver bell was rung for each of the Greenwich residents killed as their names were read aloud and then, with the families of the victims leading the way, flowers were placed at the two glass towers of the memorial. A large American flag flew over the scene courtesy of the Greenwich Fire Department.
“It’s so important that we have stuck together through these years,” Sally Maloney, whose son Teddy was among those killed, said after the ceremony with several of her grandchildren around her. “We are still able to honor Teddy in a phenomenal event like this one tonight. The lead up to Sept. 11 is really terrible. I feel physically and emotionally drained at this point and then starting tomorrow we pick up again.”
The Maloney family was among the many local families who pushed for the memorial to be created. She recalled having to drive an hour and a half through traffic to be able to get to Westport to its memorial before the Cos Cob Park memorial was finally dedicated in 2015.
It has been a place of great solace for her ever since, she said.
“I come here and talk to Teddy all the time,” Maloney said. “I like to come when no one is around. We love being able to have this here.”
Greenwich resident Maryann Ramos was among those placing a flower at the memorial. She had a unique perspective on the events that lead to the Greenwich ceremony and countless others like it in the region and across the country. A physician’s assistant, she was working at the Pentagon at the time it was attacked and saw up close the destruction and lives lost.
“It’s still upsetting because I couldn’t save all the people I was trying to help,” Ramos said. “But to be able to help some people that day was a positive.”
At Monday’s ceremony Ramos wore the Army medal for civilian superior performance that she received in part for her service on Sept. 11, in which she worked in a triage capacity for the first response teams.
First Selectman Peter Tesei, Selectman John Toner and Selectman Drew Marzullo were in attendance at the service along with U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th, a town resident, and state Reps. Michael Bocchino, R-149th, and Fred Camillo, R-151st. State Sen. L. Scott Frantz, R-36th, spoke at the event, remembering those who were lost and those who rose up to serve.
“To me it’s astounding that 16 years has gone by so quickly since one of the most shocking events of our entire lifetimes took place,” Frantz said. “It happened right here in our backyard, taking the lives of many of our friends and loved ones and family members. The tears still flow and the memories of our lost ones are as sharp as ever.”
Frantz noted the bond of both country and community on display at the event.
“We’re a strong people with a wonderful set of traditions of always bending over backwards to help other people and always willing to serve this county,” Frantz said. “And we will always stand up for what’s right at the end of the day. It’s our innate sense of patriotism and selflessness that makes us who we are today and provides for a bright future for many generations to come in the United States of America.”
The Cos Cob ceremony was not the only one in town marking the anniversary of the attacks. The Glenville Volunteer Fire Company on Monday evening held its annual ceremony outside the firehouse, where a piece of steel from the World Trade Center has become an iconic memorial in the community.