U.S. Rep. Jim Himes was in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, the day that changed the lives of all Americans irreparably.
At the 9/11 10th anniversary memorial ceremony at , Himes spoke of walking up the subway stairs in lower Manhattan that day, like he did every day, only this time entering into a world that had completely changed.
The fourth district congressman was standing in a conference room when he watched the towers fall and crumble to the ground.
“Hours later I walked up through the horrible gray snow of cement and dust, paper still fluttering the warm air, and into the horror and the tragedy of the knowledge that thousands of our fellow citizens had perished with us right there,” he said.
Yesterday morning Himes was also present at the ceremonies at Ground Zero in New York.
Close to 3,000 victims died during the attacks on the World Trade Center Towers and the Pentagon, making 9/11 the worst terrorist attack in the nation’s history.
Among the Trumbull groups present to commemorate ten years since that day were religious leaders of Jewish and Christian faiths; police, firefighters, and EMTs; educational and civic leaders; and residents of all faiths.
The prevailing message of the service was one of hope going forward. First Selectman Tim Herbst offered a message of encouragement to Trumbull residents, saying that America has gotten through times that have been just as tough.
“Again we are eyewitnesses to a period in our history where tragedy has been followed by a long period of challenge for our nation, and as we have done before we will do so again and rise to the occasion,” Herbst said.
“We will look back at this period and history and realize that it was we, the people of this great country, this great town, that led America’s renewal,” he said.
The ceremony was an occasion to reflect back on the courage shown that day in New York and in the days after in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to appreciate the unquenchable strength of the human spirit.
The Rev. Judith Greene of talked about the overwhelming feeling of enduring community she felt when she served as a Red Cross chaplain at Ground Zero.
Diocese of Bridgeport Bishop William Lori also talked of this feeling of unity in the first days following 9/11. He spoke of wanting to recover that feeling of sympathy and national purpose that, he said, faded all too quickly.
“Out of love and respect for those who have died...let us rededicate ourselves to the construction of a civilization of truth and love,” he said.
The Rev. Paul Goodman, leader of the , spoke of the National 9/11 memorial that opens to the public today.
He said that the power of the memorial lies in the fact that it is emblazoned with all the thousands of names of the people who died.
Goodman then read the poem “The Names,” written by former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins, who first read it at the special joint session of Congress held on Sept. 6, 2002, to honor the victims of the attacks.
The poem tries to make some human sense of the sheer magnitude of loss experienced that day by imagining the thousands of names of those who died.
The Rev. Elsa Worth of spoke on the freighted topic of forgiveness, quoting a passage called “On Forgiveness and Healing” from the book Audacity to Believe by Sheila Cassidy.
“Indeed there are times when the idea of forgiveness seems completely and utterly impossible,” she read. “I continually pray for the power to forgive and for the willingness to let go of my hatred and my fear, for I know that it is only in forgiving my enemies that I am healed.”
Trumbull resident Dori Colavito attended the ceremony with her daughter, a member of the Chamber Singers, who sang the National Anthem and Amazing Grace. Colavito said she was touched by the service honoring all those who lost loved ones.
“My heart is with their families today,” she said.