New Britain remembers those who made the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11

Published on Sunday, 11 September 2022 10:53
Written by

Erica Drzewiecki


NEW BRITAIN – First responders, city officials and veterans came together Sunday morning to remember those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.

New Britain Fire Chief Raul Ortiz served as Master of Ceremonies at the City’s 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony, which took place beneath overcast skies at the Global War on Terror Memorial in Central Park.

“On this 21st anniversary of 9/11 it’s more important than ever to keep that memory in our hearts,” Chief Ortiz said, introducing a program that intertwined speakers, prayers, bells, the presentation of our nation’s colors and moments of silence at 8:46 and 9:03 a.m., respectively.

Those were the exact moments in time when two planes hit the World Trade Center’s North and South Towers in two of four suicide terrorist attacks orchestrated by al-Qaeda that day, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

“Please reflect on the emotions you felt in that moment and the days after,” Chief Ortiz said.

Members of New Britain High School’s Madrigal Singers sang the National Anthem before the first moment of silence and New Britain Police Department’s Honor Guard performed a ceremonial volley before the second moment of silence.

“We come remembering, we come in hope, not in ourselves, but in you,” Grace Church Pastor Thomas Mills said, reciting his invocation.

Mayor Erin Stewart recalled being a freshman in high school when the attacks occurred.

“I think there was a collective sense of fear that came over our whole country in that moment,” she said. “We were all united in our pride for our country, in who we are and the lengths we’ll go to protect it…Today we pay homage to those who made the ultimate sacrifice when their country needed them more than ever.”

A representative from each of the City’s emergency response factions also addressed the crowd gathered for the ceremony.

That included New Britain EMS Captain Patrick Ciardullo, who spoke about hope and loss.

“Hope is a powerful antidote to the hopelessness and despair that accompanies such a tragedy,” he said, paying tribute to the sacrifices made by rescuers, members of the U.S. Armed Forces and regular civilians that day.

NBFD and Army National Guard member Katrina LaClair and NBPD Officer Stan Oleksenko spoke of being inspired by the heroic actions of their fellow emergency responders.

“This horrible tragedy inspired a whole generation of men and women to dedicate their lives to protecting this country’s freedom,” said Oleksenko, who immigrated to America from Ukraine when he was just 16 years old, immediately joining the U.S. Army.

Retired Sgt. Maj. Edward Murtha of the Northwestern Veterans T.G.M. Memorial Post, reminded everyone that freedom is not free, but paid for by the brave.

“God bless you and God bless the United States of America,” he concluded.

The New Britain Elks Lodge 957 hosted a breakfast for all first responders and their families following the ceremony.

Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at

Posted in New Britain Herald, General News, New Britain on Sunday, 11 September 2022 10:53. Updated: Sunday, 11 September 2022 10:55.