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State Pays Tribute to 9/11 First Responders

WESTPORT, Conn. – Selfless and courageous: These were some of the words used to describe Connecticut's police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and other first responders who answered the call of duty during and after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York City.

"In the face of horrific devastation, you, Connecticut's firefighters, police officers, [emergency medical technicians], paramedics and volunteers, did what comes naturally to you — you leapt into action," David Fein, U.S. attorney for Connecticut, said Wednesday evening at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport during a ceremony honoring the state's first responders.

"You were not deterred by the considerable danger that was everywhere. You did not think about your own personal well-being, comfort or needs. Instead, you overcame obstacles and moved toward, not away, from the devastation as quickly as you could, for as long as you could, with only one purpose in mind: to help others."

Dozens of first responders from across the state attended the ceremony, which was organized by Fein, the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and Voices of Sept. 11.

As Fein thanked the state's first responders for the help they provided during and after 9/11, he also thanked them, on behalf of the state, for the work they do every day in their towns and cities and for "proving the basic goodness of mankind in the face of evil."

Fein's praise was echoed by Gov. Dannel Malloy and others, including New Canaan resident Bonnie McEneaney, whose husband Eamon worked on the 105th floor of the North Tower at the World Trade Center.

"I'm here on behalf of all 9/11 families to say 'thank you,' but 'thank you' is not enough," said McEneaney. "There are no words that accurately express our gratitude for what you have done. When I think back to the role you played, I think of love."

Although the ceremony was organized largely to pay tribute to the first responders who helped in New York in the aftermath of 9/11, New York Police Department Deputy Inspector Andrew Savino said all of the state's first responders played an important role, whether they went into the city or not.

"We must not forget the first responders who stayed behind to ensure the security of this state's cities, iconic buildings and critical infrastructure," Savino told the crowd. "Their long hours and hard work here in Connecticut during this event 10 years ago cannot go unnoticed and unrecognized."

To reach reporter Vanessa Inzitari, send an email to vinzitari@thedailywestport.com .

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