WESTPORT, Conn. — Fred Haschak is passionate about his commitment to keeping the memory of 9/11 alive.
“You’ve got to remind people; the big thing is, never forget,” said Haschak, a retired 35-year veteran of the Bridgeport Fire Department, regarding the attack on the World Trade Center 21 years ago.
Now 74, Haschak carried the Flag of Honor, an American flag containing the names of all 2,982 victims killed on 9/11, to the State’s Sept. 11 ceremony last week at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport.
Haschak’s heartfelt personal connection to that day’s painful events is the late firefighter Dana Rey Hannon, one of 343 firefighters killed there that day. He was 29.
Hannon had only recently joined the New York Fire Department, after spending three years with the Bridgeport Fire Department.
In Bridgeport, he was awarded the Medal of Valor for rescuing a woman from an apartment on fire.
“He wanted to go to the big fire department; it was his life’s dream,” said Haschak at Thursday’s event.
The ceremony was attended by Gov. Ned Lamont, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Greenwich), State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) and about 150 other people, including family members and friends of the 161 people with ties to Connecticut who perished.
Victims’ names were slowly spoken, the readers holding back tears.
The memorial was held Sept. 8 to allow attendees to make it to other ceremonies on Sunday, the actual anniversary of the attack.
Haschak said he intends to continue participating in as many 9/11 memorials as he is able.
“It’s a brotherhood; I take it deeply.”