Monroe’s first responders gathered for a ceremony outside the Monroe Fire Department’s Firehouse 1 Wednesday, to honor those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks 18 years ago, including their counterparts in New York City, who died risking their lives to save others in the crumbling Twin Towers.
“We will always honor the sacrifice, the loss that remains unbearable to this day,” First Selectman Ken Kellogg said from the podium. “But as horrific as those events were that day, let’s remember that in the minutes after the first attack, all the way up to today, 18 years later, we have demonstrated our strength and our resilience as a community and as a nation. So together we must remain strong and we must continue to honor the memory of those that we have lost — and we must be committed to never forget.”
The ceremony was attended by firefighters from the town’s three fire companies: Stevenson, Stepney and Monroe, as well as members of the Monroe Volunteer Emergency Medical Service.
Monroe Fire Marshal Bill Davin, who is also the town’s fire marshal, welcomed Monroe Firefighter Cody Pereira to the podium.
Despite Pereira only being nine-years-old when terrorists hijacked commercial airliners and flew the planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers fought back, Davin said he was moved by something Pereira wrote about 9/11 on social media.
Pereira called upon everyone to remember the firefighters who lost their lives from 9/11 related illnesses after searching for survivors at Ground Zero, as well as those who died that fateful day.
He recalled the rise in patriotism when the country stood united after being attacked, adding people have since become so divided.
“We are all Americans now, as we always were,” Pereira said. “Let that fire burn deep inside for the greatest country in the world. And take a moment to remember that day in 2001, when the world apparently stopped turning. Pick up your fellow man and keep fighting the good fight for world peace. We shall always remember and never forget. God bless this country.”
David York, the former Stevenson fire chief and current emergency management director for the town, recited a poem about Americans coming together as one.
Davin recalled the more than 3,000 lives lost, including 421 emergency responders in New York City — 343 of whom were firefighters. He also recalled the 125 lives lost at the Pentagon.
Emergency services have a “signal 5-5-5-5,” a signal that goes out over the FDNY’s intercom and dispatch channel when a firefighter is lost, Davin explained.
Monroe firefighters rang a bell five times, then repeated the sequence five times to honor New York’s Bravest who died on 9/11.