FAIRFIELD, Conn. – A plaque on the lawn of the Fairfield Fire Department’s headquarters reads, “Dedicated to the 343 firefighters who lost their lives 9-11-2001.” Tuesday morning, the town gathered to remember those 343 and the thousands of other first responders who worked that day and every day since.
Fairfield had its annual Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony to honor the firefighters, police officer and paramedics from Fairfield and other towns that helped in the recovery efforts after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“The firefighters who perished that day, and those that worked as part of the massive recovery and support efforts, remain pillars of courage to all for that selfless act of bravery and devotion to their fellow citizens,” said Fairfield Fire Chief Richard Felner.
The Police and Fire Chaplain, Fairfield University’s the Rev. Charles Allen, urged Fairfielders to visit the many memorials nearby. He mentioned the town’s memorials near Town Hall and at the Fairfield Fire Department, as well as on the Fairfield University campus.
But he also suggested a memorial in Milford that predates Sept. 11, 2001, by more than 200 years. The monument is an obelisk honoring a group that died fighting in the American Revolution.
“Today, we remember the first responders of September 11, 2001,” Allen said. “But we must never forget that though they were the first responders that day, they certainly in our nation’s history were not its first responders.”
Police Chief Gary MacNamara also looked to the past, but much more recent: Sept. 10, 2001. He reminded the crowd that the police officers and firefighters who responded to the terrorist attacks were continuing a job they had done the day before and still do now.
“The heroes from September 11, 2001 didn't throw on a cape and appear out of nowhere,” MacNamara said. “They weren't characters out of a comic book. They were men and women, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters who at one point stood up and said ‘That’s the life for me. I want to help.’”
As if to prove MacNamara’s point, a group of Fairfield firefighters needed to leave the ceremony early. A call came in for Fairfield Fire Department’s Engine 4 to respond to a medical call in Southport during Allen’s closing prayer.