Wilton editorial: Never forget — 9/11 remembrance

COVID fatigue has set in for many, but continued vigilance is necessary for the foreseeable future.

COVID fatigue has set in for many, but continued vigilance is necessary for the foreseeable future.

Contributed photo /

There are some events that take place you never forget where you were when you heard about them.

The attack on the World Trade Center — and shortly thereafter at Shanksville, Pa., and the Pentagon — is one of those.

Those in the New York metro area at the time will never forget the beautiful blue sky that morning that gave way to the smoke and flames pouring from the Twin Towers, the sirens of the emergency vehicles racing to the site, the gut-wrenching vision of one tower collapsing and then the next, and finally, the heartbreaking images of people walking the streets of lower Manhattan with photos of their loved ones, hoping they were among the survivors.

In all, 2,977 people were killed in the planes and on the ground that day. Among them were five men from Wilton who never returned home to their families: Edward Fergus, 40; Peter Christian Fry, 36; John Henwood, 35; John F. Iskyan, 41; and Edward P. York, 45. They were husbands, fathers, sons and brothers.

When Osama bin Laden, the terrorist behind the attacks, was killed in 2011, Peter Fry’s widow Meredith said the wounds were still deep. “In an instant I lost my dear husband, Peter Christian Fry. Taylor and Caley lost their father. They will never touch him or hold him again. He will not see them grow. They will never experience his laughter and joy of life. We never got to finish our story. Peter didn’t get to live his life that he so loved. Our family was destroyed along with so many others nothing will ever change the loss and the pain.”

The resulting sorrow of the attacks reached Wilton in other ways.

Wilton residents Susan and Harvey Blomberg lost their 33-year-old son Jonathan, who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald at the World Trade Center.

On the occasion of bin Laden’s death, Jonathan’s father said he looked at a photo of his son and tears came to his eyes. “It’s still an open wound,” he said. “It’s never going to heal.”

It’s not politics or patriotism that, 18 years after those heinous events, cause us to hold remembrance ceremonies. It’s the drive to remember those lost — the Peter Frys, the Jonathan Blombergs, the 343 New York City firefighers who also perished — that has never wavered.

The terror and the after-effects were not confined to one day or one month or one year. At last year’s ceremony, fire Capt. Jim Blanchfield reminded those assembled that beyond the nearly 3,000 people who died, more than 1,100 who were in lower Manhattan at that time have since been diagnosed with cancer as a result of the toxins at Ground Zero. The fire service, police and EMS he said, have seen more than 1,400 rescue workers who responded to the scene die.

Noting that memories can fade, “that’s why today, we consciously remember those events … We put faces and memories to the numbers. We remember those lost in our minds and in our hearts,” he said.

Wilton Firefighters Local 2233 and the Wilton Fire Department will conduct their annual remembrance ceremony next Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 10 a.m., marking the time the South Tower collapsed. The community is invited to remember their neighbors who died or who suffered losses that day. They may take the opportunity to thank members of Wilton’s emergency services who go to work each day to serve them, help them and protect them: the firefighters, police officers, Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps and CERT (Community Emergency Response Team).

On that day, we would do well to remember Meredith Fry’s words: “I realize that family and loving friends are our circle of strength. We have each other on earth and in heaven. Pure evil can never destroy that.”