REMARKS AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY BY
U.S. ATTORNEY DAVID B. FEIN AT THE CEREMONY
HONORING CONNECTICUT’S 9/11 FIRST RESPONDERS
AND VOLUNTEERS IN WESTPORT
Good evening and welcome to Governor Malloy and other state and federal officials.
Our United States Congressional delegation could not be here because the Senate and the House are in session. But Senator Blumenthal and Representative Himes have sent representatives from their offices and they are here with us.
Friends and Families of the Victims from 9/11
The family of Stamford’s Brian Bill, one of 22 Navy SEALS who lost their lives last month serving in Afghanistan while attempting to rescue four of their colleagues who were under attack.
Firefighters, law enforcement, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, volunteers and fellow citizens.
We gather this evening to extend our deepest gratitude to Connecticut’s First Responders and Volunteers, who courageously served our country on September 11, 2001, and in the days, weeks and months that followed. We thank you for doing everything you could to save and improve lives in the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center. We thank you for your demonstrations of bravery and sacrifice. And we thank you for proving the basic goodness of mankind in the face of such evil.
In the hours and days after the attacks, most Americans sought solace in the safety and comfort of their homes and their families. As shock and disbelief turned to fear and anger – along with an overwhelming sense of loss and sadness – you, our First Responders and Volunteers, did not hesitate to act. In the face of horrific devastation, you – Connecticut’s firefighters, police officers, EMTs, paramedics and volunteers – did what comes naturally to you: You leapt into action.
You were not deterred by the considerable danger that was everywhere. You did not think about your own personal well- being, comfort or needs. Instead, you overcame obstacles and moved toward, not away from, the devastation. As quickly as you could, for as long as you could, with only one purpose in mind:
To help others.
Of course, we know well that the lives saved by the initial First Responders came at a tremendous cost of loss of life: 343 New York City firefighters, 37 Port Authority Police officers, 23 NYPD officers and 3 court officers.
Through your heroic actions, you gave us, your fellow citizens – reeling in the most chaotic time of most of our lives – a sense of order. We saw you helping. And we realized, we weren’t helpless. We were able to put our faith in things that are good. And many followed your example and volunteered to help.
In the wake of the terror attacks, the question was asked: Why? Why such evil? While that question may never be answered satisfactorily, another question arises from the smoke of destruction and loss at Ground Zero, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennslyvania.
Why were so many people rushing into the fray?
That question, thankfully, can be answered.
First Responders and Volunteers embody America’s best ideals. By training to help others, by sacrificing to protect your fellow citizens, by remaining vigilant against assaults on our freedoms, you quietly and anonymously ensure that Americans can pursue the dreams that this great country offers all of her citizens. In the darkest hour of this tragedy -- it was you who gave us hope.
We gather here this evening at Sherwood Island, at Connecticut’s 9/11 Living Memorial, to say thank you for what you did ten years ago and for what you continue to do every day.
Before I close, I’d like to impose on your anonymity, just briefly. As we planned this event, a number of us in the U.S. Attorney’s Office gathered names of Connecticut’s 9/11 First Responders and Volunteers. It was not an easy task because there was no central list of who responded.
We had help along the way. We visited the Connecticut Historical Society’s Exhibit: 9/11: Connecticut Responds and Reflects, on display in Hartford and Fairfield, and read an article on the exhibit by Anne Guernsey in the magazine Connecticut Explored. We also read individual stories in the newspapers from many of your hometowns, and learned by word of mouth, hearing from many of you about others who assisted.
As a result of our collective research, we were able to reach out to many of you who are here tonight. What I’d like to do now is introduce you, by the names of your departments, agencies or offices, and I apologize in advance for any we’re missing.
Please stand as your department’s name is read and remain standing so that we can thank you all together.
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U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE