WESTPORT, Conn. — Gov. Dannel Malloy remembers a lot of things about Sept. 11, 2001: The fighter jets flying overhead during an afternoon run, the makeshift memorial at Westhill High School in Stamford, the dedication of a flagpole to the victims’ memories.
But he told hundreds gathered at the state's official Sept. 11 memorial service Thursday that he wishes there were more memories for the 161 Connecticut victims.
“So many memories yet to be had were lost that day,” he said.
Families, friends and state residents joined the governor at Connecticut Remembers, a brief service filled with music, prayer and heartfelt sentiments at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, home of the state’s official 9/11 memorial.
Kevin Titus made the journey from Canaan in memory of his cousin, Alicia Nicole Titus, who was on the United Airlines plane that hit the south tower of the World Trade Center that morning.
Titus, now a pilot himself, wore the uniform worn by his uncle, also a pilot, on Sept .11, 2001.
“I was in Texas. I had just gotten home from active duty overseas,” he said. ‘I couldn’t believe it. To lose a cousin was very hard. This is important for me to be here.”
Robert Klee, commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said he was “honored and humbled” to welcome those gathered to the park and the memorial, which includes a wall of names inside the main pavilion and a grassy, rectangular memorial near the water’s edge outdoors.
“This is a safe place here in this park,” he said.
AS Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman made her remarks about freedom and the American spirit, a young child could be heard crying in the crowd. Wyman, whose wedding anniversary is Sept. 11, said she found the sound oddly comforting.
“They’re the future,” she said, pointing to the child, “and we will all fight for that future.”
The U.S. Coast Guard Cadet Glee Club offered several selections, including “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A. (Proud to be an American.)” Lance Cpl. Brian Drury of the U.S. Marine Corps played “Taps” on a trumpet before the group moved to the outdoor memorial, placing white roses on their loved ones’ names.
Titus said he intends to attend another 9/11 memorial before the week is over. And he plans to be back next year.
“We can’t forget,” he said. “If we forget this, it will happen again.”