9/11 ceremony: Honor lives taken in attacks

Once again, the town will remember.

“We pledged in 2001 never to forget,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said. “And this year, as in other years, on September 11th, at our memorial, located on Danbury Road at the Parks and Recreation entrance, we will be conducting our 16th annual memorial service.”

The 9/11 observances will begin at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11, 2017.

The town’s memorial — a sculpture with a beam of twisted steel from the World Trade Center as its centerpiece — is at the south end of the large field across from Casagmo condominiums, near the bridge where all the road work has been going on. People can park at the Recreation Center’s parking lots, and walk over to the memorial site on the paved pathways.

As is now tradition, police honor guard and and fire department color guard will participate in a ceremony that features both words and music. The main speaker will be provided by the Ridgefield Clergy Association. And there will be music from The Ridgefield Chorale,  saxophonist Tommy Weeks, and vocalist Evelyn Carr.

Carr, who has sung at numerous patriotic observances organized by The American Legion, was the featured vocalist on the Ridgefield Symphony’s 50th Anniversary Recording of the National Anthem.

Marconi noted that Weeks had played at every one of Ridgefield’s 9/11 observances since 2002.

“This will be his 16th year,” he said.

The crowds vary from year to year, but they’re usually substantial.

“We’ll have around 100 people, plus or minus,” Marconi predicted.

Ridgefielders lost

The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, took more than 3,000 lives, including some 400 first responders from New York police and fire departments.

The lives lost at the World Trade Center included at least five Ridgefielders or people with close Ridgefield connections: Tyler Ugolyn, a 1997 Ridgefield High School graduate and son of two Rigefielders, who’d just started work at the World Trade Center; Joseph Heller, a Ridgefielder and father of four who worked in the World Trade Center; Robert Higley, husband and son-in-law of Ridgefielders, who also worked in the World Trade Center; John Williamson, son of a Ridgefielder who served with the New York City Fire Department; and Christopher Blackwell, a New York City firefighter who’d worked out of the Ridgefield firehouse when on ambulance duty with Danbury Paramedic. Three former Ridgefielders, Bud and Dee Flagg and Barbara Edwards, were killed in the plane that crashed into the Pentagon in Washington D.C. as part of the 9/11 attacks.

Among the thousands killed — and grieved all around the nation — were many others held dear by Ridgefielders. At a memorial prayer service in town on the Sunday following the attacks, people wrote more than 30 names on a list of people to be prayed for.

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