Durham Commemorates the 20th Anniversary of 9/11


On the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the Durham community met on the town green to remember the victims of the attacks.

Many community members were in attendance, including the Durham Volunteer Fire Department with their fire trucks, the Durham Volunteer EMS, veterans, and members of local scout troops. The brass quintet from the 102nd Army Band was in attendance and played somber music throughout. A giant American Flag hung on a crane with support from Hans Pedersen and the Durham Fair’s maintenance department. Karen Kean, a teacher at Strong Middle School, organized the ceremony.

Four Coginchaug students participated in the ceremony. Seniors Ava Dell’Orfano and Ellie Castiglia sung the national anthem at the beginning of the ceremony, and sophomores Paige Konopka and Lily Mach recited two poems during the ceremony. The first poem, written by Kim Garvis, was written in the weeks following the attacks, describing the events of September 11th and included the unity that was demonstrated following the attacks. The second poem was about a girl who lost her father, a firefighter, who was rescuing civilians from the Twin Towers. Lily said that reciting the poems made her feel, “more unified with the community and doing something to help us remember was powerful.” 

With events such as the Community Round Up and the Durham Fair cancelled due to the pandemic, last year had limited interaction between students and members of the surrounding community. As the school year begins, many students are entering the community, and many Coginchaug students went to the ceremony. Junior Jayson Penney, who was in attendance, said that, “[it’s] cool to see people for a time like this to support each other as a community.” 

“This year, we obviously wanted to make it [the ceremony] more since it was the 20th anniversary,” Kean said regarding the planning of the ceremony, “so we had the firetrucks which I wanted to have for years, as well as the giant American flag.”