Town to honor lives lost on September 11

The lives lost, the bravery of first responders, the intersecting personal and public tragedies wrought by terrorism in the 9/11 attacks of 2001, will be commemorated by the Town of Ridgefield on Wednesday evening, Sept. 11, at 6:30. People will gather around the town’s 9/11 monument — the arm of World Trade Center steel visible off Route 35 across from the Fox Hill condominiums.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 18 years,” said First Selectman Rudy Marconi, who will lead the observances. “I believe, for those of us who remember — it’s a very vivid memory of what took place that day.

“It’s also interesting that some of the kids in our schools may not even remember 9/11 or what it was. But it’s something we should never forget.”

The commemoration will begin with patriotic music — vocalist Evelyn Carr singing God Bless America before the Ridgefield Police Department Honor Guard and Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department Color Guard march in.

Then Carr will give her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, the national anthem.

First Selectman Marconi will offer a welcome to those who have gathered, and lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Rev. Karen Halac of the First Congregational Church of Ridgefield will offer an invocation.

The Ridgefield Chorale, led by Daniela Sikora, will sing.

The Rev. Bill Pfohl of Jesse Lee Methodist Church will give a reflection — the event’s main address.

Marconi will invite people to lay flowers — which will be provided — at the base of the monument.

Piper Tom Elliott will play Amazing Grace. The Ridgefield Chorale will sing again. A closing benediction will be offered by the Rev. Charles Bonadies of the Ridgefield Baptist Church.

In addition to the public commemoration, the town and the Ridgefield Historical Society have collaborated on an exhibition — ‘Ridgefield Remembers 9/11’ — in the display cases in Town Hall’s main entrance lobby, open weekdays from 8:30 to 4:30 through Oct. 31.

“Ridgefield, with its close proximity to New York City, was severely impacted by 9/11. Schoolchildren were held at school till teachers were assured their parents were safe,” the historical society said in a release publicizing the display.

“As you enter the lobby, you will encounter two glass cases on either side of the corridor filled with images, articles, and other ephemera documenting this terrible tragedy, then and now. A list commemorating those lost from Ridgefield is also included in the exhibit.”

Nearly 3,000 lives were lost as a result of the September 11th terrorist attacks — at the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and in Pennsylvania where a plane hijacked by terrorists crashed into a field.

Like so many others across America, Ridgefielders experienced losses on 9/11 that ranged from close family members to friends to co-workers to acquaintances.

The count of lives lost includes: Tyler Ugolyn, a 1997 Ridgefield High School graduate who had recently started a job in the World Trade Center; Joseph Heller, a father of four who lived with his family in Ridgefield and worked in the towers; Robert Higley, another World Trade Center worker, who was the husband and son-in-law of Ridgefielders; John Williamson, a New York City firefighter who was the son of a Ridgefielder; Christopher Blackwell, a New York firefighter who’d previously worked in Ridgefield’s firehouse for Danbury Paramedic; and, killed in the plane that hijackers crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., were Bud and Dee Flagg, and Barbara Edwards.