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A Decade Later, Pain Persists For 9/11 Families

By James Lomuscio

Tiny flags emblazoned with images of the Twin Towers flapped in the breeze as Edward T. Fergus Sr. walked back from the 9/11 Memorial at Sherwood Island State Park tonight.

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It was an emotional gathering for relatives of 9/11 victims tonight at Westport’s Sherwood Island State Park. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

He paused to stare out at the expansive field leading to the water.

“My son used to fly model planes down here,” recalled Fergus Sr., a Wilton resident. His voice began to crack.

“I never thought I’d be attending a memorial service for him here,” he added.

His son Edward T. Fergus Jr., 40, was killed 10 years ago this Sunday, Sept. 11, while working at Cantor Fitzgerald in the World Trade Center’s North Tower.

Fergus Sr. and his daughter Anne Marie Rayhill were among the more than 500 family members and friends who came to Sherwood Island’s 9/11 Memorial for the 10th anniversary of that day, one that started out with bright skies and ended in dark clouds of terror.

The ceremony featured Gov. Dan Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, other state and local officials, clergy, the Coast Guard Chorale and the artists who had created a wall with names of Connecticut’s 152 victims and a sculpture made from metal wreckage from the towers.

“Your state, your fellow citizens of Connecticut and the United States once again express their condolences to you,” Malloy said about the ceremony.

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A family finds a victim’s name on the new memorial. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

The annual service had been started in 2002 by former Gov. Jodi Rell, who was in attendance today.

“I hope the passing of this day will make your burden just a little easier,” Malloy said.

Daniel C. Esty, commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which oversees the park, turned the audience’s attention to the names plaque, as well as the sculpture entitled, “A Sanctuary.” The sculpture, which features metal flowers, was created by artists David Boyajian of New Fairfield and Matt Rink of Redding.

“It was a cathartic experience and a humbling experience,” Boyajian said about working with metal from one of the fallen towers.

Connecticut Poet laureate Dick Allen, a Trumbull resident, kept the audience riveted with a dramatic reading of his 9/11 poem, two of its repeated lines stating, “The world as we know it will cease to exist. The Towers on the rock will turn to mist.”

Holding a white rose in her hand, Kathy Callahan of Greenwich searched the wall of victims’ names and found her brother’s, Thomas E. Galvin.

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Kathy Callahan of Greenwich searched the wall of victims’ names and found her brother’s, Thomas E. Galvin. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com

“He was in the North Tower,” she said. “It’s hard to believe it’s 10 years.

“You have to turn off the television a bit,” she said about footage of that day that brings back painful memories. “But, how do you walk away from it. …It’s a beautiful ceremony. They did a wonderful job.”

When the event concluded, the more than 500 family members and friends, many of them carrying roses, made a solemn procession from the pavilion, across the field and toward the edge of the water where the memorial sits like a grave site.

On the way, many stopped to shake hands with Malloy, Wyman, Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff, state Sen. Toni Boucher and state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg.

At the memorial, they placed the flowers next to the names of their loves ones. Some family members still mourned. Others had learned to live with their loss.

“I can’t believe it’s 10 years,” said Fergus’s sister Rayhill. “It feels like yesterday.”

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