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12 Years Later, Memories Of 9/11 Victims Live On In Westport

A child places a white rose on the 9/11 Living Memorial at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport Tuesday.
A child places a white rose on the 9/11 Living Memorial at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport Tuesday. Photo Credit: Vanessa Inzitari

WESTPORT, Conn. – It has been 12 years since Chris Vadas lost his brother Bradley in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Although 4,380 days have passed, the pain hasn’t.

“It never goes away,” said Chris, a Redding police officer. “It’s always there. I think most people have put [Sept. 11] behind them, unless they lost a friend or loved one.”

Chris and his soon to be 12-year-old son Bradley—who was born two weeks after the attacks and named after his uncle—were among the hundreds of people who gathered at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport on Tuesday evening for the state’s 12th annual Sept. 11 Memorial Ceremony.

During the ceremony, attended by Gov. Dannel Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and various state and local officials, the names of the 161 victims with Connecticut ties were read aloud. Then, there was a moment of silence, followed by the somber sound of “Taps,” played by U.S. Marine Corps. Staff Sgt. Jimmie Johnson.

“I hope for some of you what you never forget is the greatness of your loved one, the smile, the inspiration that when they were living, they gave each of you,” Malloy said. “I hope that you never forget the magnitude of the love that you held for them and that they held for you."

Also speaking to the families, Wyman quoted Rose Kennedy, mother of President John. F. Kennedy, who said: "It has been said time heals all wounds. I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone."

At the end of the ceremony, friends and family members of the victims gathered at the park’s 9/11 Living Memorial. There, they placed white roses and other items on the stone bearing the names of their loved ones. Tears were shed and many hugs were shared.

“I always think about him,” Chris said of his brother.

Bradley Vadas grew up in Weston and later bought a home in Westport. He was a vice president at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and worked in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. He was 37 when he died.

"I hope we never forget that we in this nation and those of good spirit in this world must stand in the face of those who would attack us and attack our principals," Malloy said. "We must make sure that we never change who we are and that the memory of those we love is never forgotten."

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