MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Monday marks 22 years since thousands of people were killed in the 9/11 terrorist attack at the World Trade Center in New York City.
Nearly 3,000 people died when 19 al-Qaida members hijacked four commercial airline planes, sending two of the planes into the Twin Towers and one into the Pentagon. The fourth crashed into a field in western Pennsylvania, never reaching the terrorists’ intended target.
Ceremonies were held across Connecticut, including in Meriden, where the community honored hometown hero Bruce Eagleson. He was the manager of Westfield Meriden Mall. On Sept. 11, 2001, Eagleson was on assignment inside the World Trade Center for the owners of his company, Westfield Management Corporation.
“Bruce was one of those individuals in the tower that day instructing his colleagues, strangers, friends to evacuate the building,” Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati said at Monday’s ceremony.
One of the last voices from home that Eagleson heard was of his oldest sons. Eagleson’s widow, Gail, recounts their conversation.
“‘Get out, Dad.’ He said, ‘I will, I will. I’m okay,’ but my son says that he could hear a lot of commotion, and he was directing people,” Gail said.
Eagleson’s body was never recovered. In the days following the tragedy, Gail had only one choice.
“I focused on my three boys, and that’s what kept me going,” she said. “If I didn’t have them, I don’t know.”
Family members of 9/11 victims gathered Monday morning in Lower Manhattan to read aloud their names and honor a vow to never forget.