By John Fitts and
Across the Farmington Valley Wednesday, residents and officials paid tribute to the victims of 9/11 and those who continue to work or volunteer in positions that help others.
At an Avon Volunteer Fire Department 9/11 service, Dorine and Martin Toyen spoke of their daughter Amy who was in one of the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001. The family also has ties to Canton.
"Today isn't just for our daughter, it's for all who have perished," Martin Toyen said, thanking all who have served in the military for the United States of America and asking that everyone remember "this day and all who were sacrificed."
Dorine Toyen said her daughter is always on their mind.
"We remember her all the time and it doesn't matter about the day," Dorine Toyen said.
In 2001, she and Martin visited Ground Zero for the 10th anniversary and saw Amy's name at the memorial.
Attendees observed moments of silence at the times the two planes struck each tower and that another plane en route to Washington, D.C. crashed in Pennsylvania. Jeffrey Gonski, Amy's fiancée at the time of her death, met them there with his wife, Stephanie Galvani attended.
"It was really hard," Dorine Toyen said.
On 9/11, Martin Toyen spreads the message of appreciating every moment you have with them because "you never know what might happen."
"Always think of your loved ones, maybe this day more than others," he said. "Hold them, tell them you love them."
In Simsbury, officials held a moment of silence at noon in front of Town Hall.
In Canton, seniors held a moment of silence to remember the
victims and thanked some of Canton's emergency officials, including members of
the Canton Police Department and Fire Marshal Adam B. Libros.
Senior and Social Services Director Claire Cote talked of the varied reactions she and her Farmington High School classmates had as they heard the news. Some panicked, others held hands and many were immobilized with shock.
"We all have a story and I’m sure all of you can remember where you were that day," Cote said. "Those feelings that swept through my classroom swept across this nation, affecting everyone. We found strength though, and it was inspired by the strength of the people who acted as only Heroes do that day and afterwards."
She continued that the tragedy inspired people to join fire departments or the military, donate their time and money or simply meet their neighbors.
"Today we’re here to remember the thousands of victims and heroes from this day, 12 years ago," Cote said.
Also in Canton, the town of Canton Volunteer Fire and EMS paid tribute, including a flag display at the Collinsville station.
The words were simple but passionate for a tragedy that so deeply affected a nation and such emergency workers and volunteers — "We will never forget."