FAIRFIELD — A 9/11 remembrance ceremony was held at the Fire Headquarters Wednesday morning.

Residents came together to pay tribute to the first responders and civilians who lost their lives 18 years ago. Local and and elected officials including First Selectman, Michael Tetreau, Fire Chief Denis McCarthy, Police Chief Christopher Lyddy, State Senator Tony Hwang and State Representatives Brenda Kupchick, Cristin McCarthy Vahey and Laura Devlin attended.

When the beginning of Chief McCarthy’s speech was interrupted by an emergency dispatch in the fire house, he noted that this was an apt example of how emergency personnel have no idea what they’ll meet when they are called to action.

“That’s how it starts,” McCarthy said. “That’s how simple a tragedy is. That’s how simple the call to duty is for people in uniform.”

McCarthy spoke of the legacy of 9/11. The events of the day, he said, have made emergency personnel hyper-vigilant and showed them that the best work is done when fire, police and medical staff all collaborate.

Other officials, including Chief Lyddy, First Selectman Tetreau and Sen. Hwang, all spoke to the importance of keeping the memory of 9/11 alive, especially for the next generation that didn’t experience it.

“In the aftermath, this country came together,” Tetreau said. “Every day that passes we remember that less and less. We need to come back to that value. We need to come back to that memory.”

Firefighter Rick Kazzi spoke about his own experience that day, when he joined a convoy of Fairfield emergency personnel that went down to New York to help on 9/11 and in the days that followed.

“I don’t think you can find a better example of courage than that,” Kazzi said of Fairfield’s first responders’ decisions to leave their homes behind and risk their lives for the greater good.

Kazzi relayed his own experience searching through the rubble at Ground Zero and the pain of realizing they wouldn’t find anything.

“I’ll never forget working on the pile, looking for something that just wasn’t there,” Kazzi said.

Two Fairfield residents were killed in the 2001 tragedy: 36-year-old Adam Lewis and 42-year-old Kevin McCarthy.

rscharf@hearstmediact.com