Wilton residents, first responders gather to remember those lost on 9/11

WILTON — Memories and memorials were revisited Sunday morning when the Wilton Fire Department headquarters hosted a remembrance and wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

“I was 19 when I responded to 9/11 with 14 other New Canaan EMTs,” said Bonnie Rumilly, of Wilton, a local trauma therapist and recently retired captain of the neighboring town's EMS.

Hoping to make a big difference in helping out after the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, Rumilly and others were sent to the Chelsea Piers to help treat people at a mobile trauma unit. Much to their shock, however, there were no injured sent to their unit because of the sweeping death toll.

“I think that was the first time I realized how little we are,” she said. “You want to help (but) there was so little help you could give.”

The experience, in part, led to her choice of occupation. “It's definitely part of who I am,” she said.

Rumilly and dozens of others attended the short ceremony by the flag pole on the south side of the fire headquarters, where the 20-year old plaque commemorating the day was covered and ceremoniously unveiled.

The plaque is dedicated to the five Wilton residents who died in the Twin Towers — Edward Fergus, Peter Fry, John Henwood, John Iskyan, and Edward York — as well as 343 New York City firefighters who died in the rescue attempts.

“This day has become a day of remembrance,” said Gary Mandel, president of the Wilton Firefighters Local 2233 union, who led the ceremony. “We remember what happened. We remember the people.”

He noted that while politics and its peripherals may play a divisive role in the country these days, the horrific events of Sept. 11 did yield one positive — it united the country.

“We were not divided as we are today,” he said. “That division is the worse in us. Being there for each other is the best in us.”

Rev. Reginald Norman of Our Lady of Fatima echoed those sentiments.

“We are at our best when we are unified, working together,” he said.

Fire Chief Jim Blanchfield noted the extreme number of casualties and injuries, calling it the deadliest day in U.S. history.

“That day we lost 2,977 people, with more than 6,000 injured,” he said. “There were 161 from Connecticut.”