‘We are grateful’ says brother of 9/11 victim from Westfield

WESTFIELD- The City of Westfield hosted two ceremonies Friday morning to remember the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, 19 years later.

Fire Chief Patrick Egloff led a somber membrance ceremony at the Westfield Fire Department Headquarters.

“Nineteen years have passed since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, an atrocity that claimed 343 of our brother and sister firefighters,” said Egloff in his opening address, “Today we take a moment to pause and remember all of the victims of 9/11, especially those from our community.”

Roger Bernier plays the bagpipes during the 9/11 ceremony at Westfield Fire Headquarters. (DON WIELGUS PHOTO)

The City of Westfield lost three members of the community on that day: Tara K. Shea Creamer, Brian J. Murphy, and Daniel P. Trant.

Following Egloff’s speech, Deputy Fire Chief Andy Hart led a group of firefighters through the ceremony of lowering the flag to half-mast and observing a minute-long moment of silence. A prayer was then read by Capt. Joseph Szenda, and the Firefighter’s Prayer was read by Deputy Fire Chief Benjamin Warren. 

The ceremony at the fire station concluded with the ringing of a bell in four sets of five chimes. The 5-5-5-5 bells, as they are called, are supposed to represent the Morse Code signal that was sent out when a firefighter was killed in the line of duty. 

A second ceremony took place at the 9/11 memorial obelisk on North Elm Street. Inscribed on that obelisk are the names of the three victims from Westfield and where they were when they lost their lives that day. 

Murphy and Trant were both in the World Trade Center towers. Creamer was a passenger on Flight 11. 

Members of the Murphy, Trant, and Creamer families were present to place a wreath in front of the monument. 

Matt Trant, Daniel’s brother, said that he came to the ceremony this year in lieu of his mother and sisters, who chose not to come due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

“All I can say is thank you to the city and people of Westfield for honoring their memory. We are grateful from the bottom of our hearts,” he said.

Trant said he plans to come again to the ceremonies next year to acknowledge the 20th anniversary of the attacks. Matt is one of nine brothers and sisters in the Trant family.

“None of us live here anymore, but it is still home,” said Trant. 

Congressman Richard E. Neal spoke at the ceremony at the monument. 

“Buildings can be rebuilt, sod can be replaced and memorials can be constructed. But it is the grief that these families will carry forever that is with us today,” said Neal. 

Neal described his experience going to New York City in the days following the attack and seeing posters for missing people who were believed to have been in the towers that day. 

On Sept. 11, 2001, the lives of 343 firefighters, 68 police officers, eight medical personnel, and one fire patrolman were lost and 2,996 people died from the attacks that day. Thousands more died later on from medical complications stemming from the building materials that filled the air after the towers collapsed.

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