Marconi: COVID won’t impede Ridgefield’s 9/11 ceremony
RIDGEFIELD — The falling towers, the office workers leaping from windows, and the firefighters rushing to save lives will all be remembered — despite the coronavirus — as Ridgefielders will again gather around the rusted beam of World Trade Center steel that is the town’s 9/11 memorial.
A ceremony to honor lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001, is being planned in Ridgefield even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Absolutely, it’s going to happen,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said of ceremony.
“It is outside. And we will be socially distanced. But I do ask people to wear face coverings.”
The ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 11 at the 9/11 memorial beside the walking trail around the Recreation Center property off Danbury Road.
Some things will remain the same. The Ridgefield Police Honor Guard and Ridgefield Fire Department Color Guard will march past the memorial at the start of the ceremony. A member of the Ridgefield Clergy Association will be asked to share reflections.
“The fire department and police department are all set,” Marconi said. “The clergy association will be offering their thoughts and prayers, as in years past.”
The solemn observances will close with the placing of flowers at the base of the 9/11 monument.
Some things will be different.
Chairs will be placed 6 feet apart. Folks will be masked-up.
“We’ll be setting up for social distancing, asking everyone to wear face coverings,” Marconi said.
Some of the now traditional participants in the ceremony hadn’t made a commitment to take part when Marconi described the plans, more than a week before the event.
Count on this: The purpose will remain the same.
There were 2,977 victims of the terrorist attacks — a number that excludes the 19 terrorists who were also killed that day, after hijacking four airplanes.
Two planes were crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, bringing down the 110-story twin towers. A total of 2,763 people were killed at the World Trade Center, 343 of them firefighters, 23 New York City police and 37 Port Authority police officers.
A third plane hit the Pentagon in Washington, killing 125 military and civilian workers in the Department of Defense headquarters and 64 people who were on the airliner.
And passengers and crew members attempted to recapture the fourth plane from the hijackers, resulting in its crash into a field in Pennsylvania, killing 44 more people.
In Ridgefield, where many people commute to work in New York, or have family and friends who work or live there, it was the attacks on the World Trade Center that dominated attention — and still do.
Ridgefielders, and people associated with the town, were among the lives lost on 9/11: Tyler Ugolyn, a 1997 Ridgefield High School graduate, was working at the World Trade Center; Joseph Heller, a Ridgefielder and father of four, worked in the towers; Robert Higley, husband and son-in-law of Ridgefielders, was also a World Trade Center worker; John Williamson, the son of a Ridgefielder, was a New York City firefighter who answered the call; Christopher Blackwell, another New York firefighter who died that day, had earlier in his career worked out of Ridgefield’s firehouse as a Danbury paramedic; and former Ridgefielders Bud and Dee Flagg and their friend Barbara Edwards were all on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon in Washington.
“It was a terrible wound in America’s side, and we’ve got to remember those who innocently and unknowingly gave their lives,” Marconi said. “Never forget.”