It's been 11 years since the towers fell in New York at the hands of a few with ill and blackened hearts, but still today the pain of loss remains evident in the lives of those the tragedy has touched. This year, more than ever before, it is important to remember the loss and sacrifice made that day.
"It is a very solemn day of remembrance for something that has happened in our lifetime," said Mayor Michael Pavia during the ceremony. "We will never forget the loss we endured on September 11, 2001. We were viciously attacked in a senseless act of terrorism and our lives changed forever."
On the 11th anniversary, the numerical significance of the passing tenth year may make some begin to move away from the significance of the day.
"We could see it happening in Stamford," Stamford Fire Department Captain Tom Gloerson said. "It's still fresh to us firefighters. I think it will always be fresh to us. I know the public won't forget, but I don't think it will be as prominent this year."
Gloerson is nervous some may think, 11 years out now, maybe it's time to stop paying so much attention. There is nothing wrong with healing, of moving past hurt. Gloerson just want to make sure the next generation has the opportunity to see what he saw.
"Those were real people—some of those people died doing the job I do every day," Gloerson said. "Every year, I get this gnaw in pit of my stomach. I feel sad. I can't help but think about it. Holding events like [the ceremony] help vet some of those feelings, give us a way to express ourselves."
Gloersen helped put together the memorial Tuesday. He said gathering friends, family and complete strangers to face the day together is what 9/11 should now be all about. Remember those who gave everything, and supporting whoever needs a shoulder to lean on.
"We had a lot of guys who went down to help and anyone who experienced that day knows we all help each other get through it," he said. "It's scaled down a little bit [from last year], but it will be a very proper and fitting ceremony. We must continue to do things like this, continue to take the time to remember guys that sacrificed themselves. That's how we honor those guys."
Gloerson compared the date to Pearl Harbor. He said it might take someone a minute to recall the exact date of the attack, but lent that to generational growth.
"We continue traditions like this and pass them down to the younger firefighters," he said. "We'll never forget how horrible that day was or stop honoring those guys, but it's a new generation that will come in that's how life just keeps going. But it doesn't matter if it's been 10, 11 or 21 years since the attacks, they'll always be important."
The mayor drew on the change that has occurred since the attacks, citing stricter regulations throughout life. After the memorial, the mayor touched on how the day must remain important to the nation the further we move away from that fateful day, it's ripples still very much felt today.
"What a difference a year makes," Pavia said. "It shouldn't make a difference what year we're commemorating. Memorials like these absolutely must continue, and we should find ways in our lives to respect the memory of those who lost their lives. It's definitely a day we use to remember a day we will never forget."
President of Stamford's NAACP chapter Jack Bryant said the day was a tragedy, and that's the only way you can describe why so many come together to memorialize.
"A tragedy is a tragedy," Bryant said. "We can't and won't forget something to affect our country so much. I'm pleased to be here and show support for those who have fallen protecting our country and it's people."
School Board Vice President Jerry Pia said the one thing that will always stand out to him is the immediacy of unity among all the members of Stamford.
"It was the American Spirit, the idea of resolve to support each other," Pia said. "I remember the Glenbrook Community Center packed wall-to-wall, four feet high, people carrying in bags and bags. They just wanted to help. Groups organizing to head to New York and help and bring supplies. It was unbelievable."