NORWALK, Conn. -- Lunda Asmani joined others in remembering the 9/11 terror attacks in a memorial service in front of Norwalk City Hall.
He's just four weeks into his new job as the city's director of management and budgets after moving from Newton, Kan., and vividly remembers the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"(I was) was so many miles away at the time from New York in Kansas, but it was just a national tragedy," Asmani said.
He moved to the United States in 1998 from his native Tanzania to do graduate work at Wichita State and was working as an intern with a county government in 2001. Asmani and other interns were assigned to work with elementary school children in the county to help them create a mural of their art work in the weeks after the attacks.
The work of the elementary students who poured their talents and time into creating artwork in honor of those who died remains with him.
"That always strikes me every year I remember that project," Asmani said
Although he didn't want to overstate it, he had experienced terrorism close to home in Dar es Salaam in August 1998, when the U.S. embassy was struck with a car bomb. Al Qaeda-linked terrorists committed that act as well as a nearly simultaneous attack at the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, which borders Tanzania. The attacks claimed more than 200 lives.
"In 1998, just as I was getting ready to come over here, the U.S. embassy was bombed and I was in Dar es Salaam when it happened. "There has always been — I don't want to use the word connection — but there is an experience of having been somewhere close to these types of events."
In the ceremony, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling remembered the victims, including those who still suffer after effects. He said the nation had been badly wounded but showed its strength that day and in the years since.
"On that day we felt we had been punched in the stomach. Unbelievably attacked here on our own mainland for the first time ever," he said. "The terrorists hoped that they had destroyed us as a nation. But they didn't realize the resolve that we have and from that moment on when the National Anthem played we stood tall."
Norwalk lost 14 people in the terror attack.
Many more 9/11 anniversary events will be held this weekend in Fairfield County. Click here for a list of events from the Daily Voice.