Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia told the crowd gathered at the city's 9/11 remembrance ceremony Tuesday morning that he had been watching a TV interview Monday with former President George W. Bush, who said that, as time passes, Sept. 11 would likely become similar to Pearl Harbor Day.
The Dec. 7 date of the Japanese attack is acknowledged yearly, but there are few memorial ceremonies like there were in the 1940s or '50s.
"I hope the president is wrong on that," Moccia said from behind a podium set up outside City Hall. "I hope we never take this for granted, and just say, `It's 9/11 and something bad happened on that day,' for future generations.
"It's so important not just here in Norwalk, but throughout the state and the country that these services continue to move forward.
"There were 2,977 American citizens who lost there lives between the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and (on) the planes. It's important we continue these services for all the families who lost their loved ones, and for all of the first responders who lost their lives trying to save others."
A fireman's hat and policeman's hat sat on two chairs in front of Moccia, symbolizing the first responders who sacrificed their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, to help others get out of the Twin Towers after they were attacked by terrorists. Moccia was flanked by members of Norwalk's fire and police departments.
He thanked Norwalk's men and women in uniform for their continued service before the NFD/NPD Joint Honor Guard posted the colors. Detective Kristina Lapak sang the National Anthem before the mayor called for a moment of silence around the time the first plane hit the World Trade Center.
Moccia then he read the names of the 14 Norwalk residents who perished on 9/11 and a member of the fire department rang a bell after each name. They victims were: Paul Dario Curioli, Ronald Gilligan, Edwin John Graf III, William C. Hunt, Thomas E. Hynes, Adam J. Lewis, Edward Francis, Cesar Murillo, Robert Walter Noonan, James Matthew Patrick, George E. Spencer III, Derek James Statkevicus, Bradley H. Vadas and John Bentley Works.
Lapak concluded the ceremony by singing "God Bless America," after which Moccia gave his closing remarks.
"My final thought is this," Moccia said. "They took some buildings down. They changed our way of life. But they never shook our spirit. They never crushed the indomitable hope and optimism of the American people. And we've seen during the events over the last few years, as Vice President (Joe) Biden stated, `When you do something to America, we will chase you to the gates of hell.'
"We've done that. And we've upheld our honor."