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Remembering 9/11: Meriden pauses to honor the lives lost

Police officers, firefighters, city employees, veterans and residents gathered outside Meriden City Hall for a ceremony held in memorial of the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
Ryan Caron King/Connecticut Public
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Connecticut Public
Police officers, firefighters, city employees, veterans and residents gathered outside Meriden City Hall for a ceremony held in memorial of the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

The morning was cloudy and misty, as if the skies remembered the tragedy 22 years ago.

First responders, officials and the community gathered at Meriden City Hall to commemorate the 9/11 attacks and remember the 161 Connecticut residents who died..

"When we look back 22 years ago, it's easy to think that it was by far one of the darkest days in our country," Mayor Kevin Scarpati said. "Today serves as a reminder of what it was like the days, weeks, and months of the heinous attack."

The American flag that had once flown at ground zero waved in Meriden as people stood solemnly during a moment of silence.

The Meriden Police chaplain, Pastor Clarence Hayes, opened the ceremony with a prayer. Then a bell rang in remembrance of those who died at the twin towers, the Pentagon and a rural Pennsylvania field.

In addition to the officials and first responders who gathered was Gail Eagleson, wife of Bruce Eagleson of Meriden. He worked as a manager at the Westfield Mall in Meriden. He was sent to the World Trade Center on a temporary assignment. Bruce Eagleson died while helping evacuate people.

Scarpati declared Sept. 11 as Bruce Eagleson Day in honor of Bruce's heroic acts.

“Thank you for doing this for my husband," Gail Eagleson said. "Bruce was the type of guy that everyone loved, including myself. I'm very honored, and I know he will be very honored. I am very grateful."

Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati hugs Gail Eagleson after honoring her husband Bruce Eagleson, who was killed in the 9/11 terrorism attacks in New York City. Eagleson was the manager of the Westfield Meriden Mall and was on temporary assignment at the World Trade Center.
Ryan Caron King
/
Connecticut Public
Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati hugs Gail Eagleson after honoring her husband Bruce Eagleson, who was killed in the 9/11 terrorism attacks in New York City. Eagleson was the manager of the Westfield Meriden Mall and was on temporary assignment at the World Trade Center.

Scarpati urged people to visit the 9/11 memorial in New York City, and officials encouraged everyone to reflect each Sept. 11.

Kent Morgan, the city's fire chief, asked people to not let the loss of those lives be in vain.

"The world changed that day, but I don't believe it can't happen again. We cannot forget this,” Morgan said. “Be prepared. We cannot let their memories fail."

State Rep. Michael D. Quinn, a Democrat who represents Meriden, reminded the community to teach new generations the importance of this day.

State Rep. Hilda Santiago, a Democrat who also represents Meriden, said we should never forget the lives that were lost and the Hispanic people who died as heroes.

"There were a lot of Hispanics that passed away from what happened that day, and we need to bring that to light more often," Santiago said.

According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 258 Latinos were killed during the terrorist attacks. Some of those Latinos were undocumented immigrant workers from Latin America whose families faced additional challenges proving they even existed.

The ceremony ended with a prayer from Hayes.

Members of the Meriden police and fire departments carry raise flag that flew over the remains of the World Trade Center during a ceremony commemorating the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. “We have to keep this in our minds,” said Meriden Fire Chief Ken Morgan.
Ryan Caron King
/
Connecticut Public
Members of the Meriden police and fire departments carry raise flag that flew over the remains of the World Trade Center during a ceremony commemorating the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. “We have to keep this in our minds,” said Meriden Fire Chief Ken Morgan.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of Connecticut residents who died as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks. It was 161 residents, not 63.

Maricarmen Cajahuaringa is a journalist with extensive experience in Latino communities' politics, social issues, and culture. She founded Boceto Media, a digital Spanish-language newspaper based in Connecticut. Maricarmen holds a Bachelor's in Social Work from Springfield College, and a Master's in Journalism and Media Production from Sacred Heart University. As a reporter for Connecticut Public, she is dedicated to delivering accurate and informative coverage of the Hispanic/Latino population in the region. Maricarmen is an experienced and passionate journalist who strives to bring a voice to the stories of her community.

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