By Lindsay Carey
Members of the community gathered for an anniversary ceremony around the 9/11 monuments between Summer and Main Street at 8:46 a.m., the time the first plane struck the twin towers, to remember the lives lost 13 years ago.
At 8:46 a.m., the bells of the Congregational Church rang 11 times and the ceremony proceeded with Amazing Grace on bagpipe and wreaths laid at the foot of each of the two monuments.
One monument is dedicated the civilians that lost their lives and the other monument is dedicated the firefighters and police officers that died trying to save others.
Roger Mathieu, a former volunteer Southington firefighter for Company 2, led the ceremony. His family donated the monuments to the town in 2003.
His son, Marc Mathieu and his wife Stacy, own Mathieu Memorials in Southington, a business that creates and installs memorial pieces.
“We just wanted to do something that was meaningful here in Southington,” said Marc Mathieu. “It’s important to recognize the people that passed away and the people that worked in the aftermath as well.”
Despite the monuments having been installed years ago, Roger Mathieu said that a lot of people in town didn’t even know they were there.
The ceremony promoted awareness of the memorial monuments and the Mathieu’s are hoping that the ceremony becomes an annual tradition.
“You can tell that it still resonates with everyone even all these years later,” said Marc Mathieu. “There’s definitely an emotion in the air.”
During the ceremony, Roger Mathieu invited a representative from the Southington Fire Department and town officials to speak.
Capt. Scott Dibattista spoke at the ceremony on behalf of the Southington Fire Department. He acknowledged 9/11 as the “darkest day for the fire service and law enforcement,” remembering the 343 fire fighters and 60 police officers passed away in the line of duty.
“At 8:46 a.m. on that beautiful Tuesday morning when the first plane struck the north tower, that one minute changed our lives,” said Dibattista. “We will never forget where we were or what we were doing.”
As everyone remembered their experience on 9/11, Town Councilor Victoria Triano shared her personal experience in town.
“We were all reeling here in Southington as the rest of the country was,” said Victoria Triano.
She recalled a Southington fire fighter calling her and asking if there was anything the town could do to recognize the tragedy.
Triano agreed to meet him on the town green that Thursday, just two days following the attacks. Since it was a last minute idea, Triano did not know how many people would actually show up.
To her surprise, she said there were over 3,000 residents that showed up on the green that night.
“There’s one thing about Southington, we rally,” said Triano. “We stand in unity and we stand for what’s right in this town.”
State Senator Joe Markley, state Representative Dave Zoni, Town Councilor Dawn Miceli, Town Manager Garry Brumback, Town Attorney Mark Sciota, and Board of Fire Commissioner Michael Bunko all attended the ceremony, alongside firefighters and residents.
“It’s a privilege to be able to join in remembering, which we are always going to be able to remember individually, but to be able to remember something collectively is comforting and inspiring,” said Senator Markley. “When you realize that we all stand together as a group, that’s something that I think we all draw strength from.”
By Lindsay Carey