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We remember September 11. It’s something we’ll never forget

This 2006 photo by Denise Gould is called Tribute in Light. (Denise Gould photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force)

It’s been 17 years since the devastating events of September 11, 2001 in New York City, Washington, D.C. and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania when terrorists used airplanes as weapons to kill innocent American men and women.

Avon High graduate Amy Toyen

Avon High graduate Amy Toyen

On a clear, sunny morning, nearly 3,000 Americans were killed. Some were passengers in the four hijacked aircraft. Some were in the Pentagon or the World Trade Center buildings that were hit. Others were police, firefighters and other emergency personnel responding to the incident in New York and died when the buildings collapsed.

The nation and the world was stunned. We all remember where we were when it occurred. Our feelings and our emotions remain vivid today. We will never forget.

For many of our younger citizens, the Sept. 11 attacks are not events they have experienced. It is a lesson they are learning in school.

One hundred and sixty-one residents with ties to Connecticut died in the attack. Avon wasn’t spared on this fateful morning.

Amy Toyen, 24, died in New York City. Toyen, an employee of Thomson Financial in Boston, was in New York to attend an event at the World Trade Center. A marketing coordinator for Thomson Financial, she was helping to set up a display about her company at a trade show on the 106th floor.

Amy was raised in Avon and graduated from Avon High School in 1995. She graduated from Bentley College in 1999.

Each year on September 11, flowers are left at the memorial for Amy Toyen outside the Avon Free Public Library.

Each year on September 11, flowers are left at the memorial for Amy Toyen outside the Avon Free Public Library.

A memorial in her honor has been at the Avon Free Public Library since 2002. Canton artist Marilyn Parkinson Thrall designed and executed a 22-inch bronze statue depicting Amy as a young girl, sitting cross-legged on a bench and cradling a teddy bear as she reads a book on her lap.

Each year, the Avon Volunteer Fire Department holds a service in honor of Amy and the first responders that lost their lives responding to the incident. They held a memorial service Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. at their headquarters on Darling Drive.

Hartford Courant story in 2002 on the dedication the memorial at the library.

Remembering Amy

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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