By Susan Corica Staff Writer
BRISTOL – Members of the city Fire Department gathered Sunday to the solemn strains of a solitary bagpiper to remember their colleagues who died at the World Trade Center a decade ago.
At the ceremony, Mayor Art Ward announced that Bristol is applying to get a piece of steel from the WTC wreckage, which would be made into a monument and placed somewhere in the city.
A crowd gathered on the grass outside Fire Department headquarters on North Main Street Sunday, as the firefighters in dress uniform marched up nearby Center Street. Sean Lennon, president of the city firefighters’ union, provided the bagpipe accompaniment.
The Rev. Andrew Cadieux, pastor of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, gave a blessing, asking for rest for the souls of “the innocent victims of the atrocious attacks that took place on this day, as well as those who died in the line of duty as they were trying to save others.”
“May their services and sacrifices of love and loyalty inspire us and future generations of Americans to always act as god’s responsible agents of freedom, with the doctrines of justice, equality for all, and courage to be used in the defense of the God-given rights of others,” he said.
The mayor noted that all the 10th anniversary services are intended to provide some closure to the trauma of the terrorist attacks, however there is never really complete closure.
Firefighters and other first responders “live with the odds of a challenge such as 9/11 on every single call,” he said. “You respond to the unknown, and it’s through the brotherhood, the training, the camaraderie, and the bravery that you react to those calls.”
The sacrifices that were made 10 years ago on some level continue today through the actions of firefighters, police officers, emergency medical personnel, and the soldiers who are serving in harm’s way as a result of the events of Sept. 11, Ward said.
Firefighter Tom Bentiebengo and Lt. Kenneth Marek placed a commemorative wreath on the monument to the city’s fallen firefighters. Firefighter Ray Sajdak rang the monument’s bell in a sequence of three-four-three. Lt. Dave Butkuss, vice president of the firefighters’ union, said it was in honor of the 343 firefighters who died at the WTC.
Then Butkuss asked everyone to join in a moment of silence, which was concluded with Lennon playing “Amazing Grace.”
After the ceremony, the mayor explained that the city is applying to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for steel from the WTC. “If they approve it and we can get it, I think it would be symbolic of the spirit of today, which is not to forget,” he said.
He said there is no designated place or designed for the proposed monument yet and he doesn’t even know what size the steel would be.
“As soon as we know more, we’re going to welcome ideas from police, fire, EMS, and the public as to how we should display it and where,” he added.