When Avon Police Officer Susan Kassey heard about the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, she was working on an undercover assignment for the North Central regional narcotics team.
She was by herself, getting a cup of coffee.
"I couldn't believe it," Kassey said. "It was surreal to see it on TV, very surreal.... It hits you right there."
Her father and uncle were both firefighters and she has worked at the Avon Police Department for 16 years.
"It hits home so close. New York is right next to us," Kassey said. "It hit me in the heart."
She wrote a poem in 2001 to pay tribute to the New York City firefighters and police officers who responded to the World Trade Center on 9/11, many of whom died. She said it took her two weeks to write the poem, scribbling down ideas as they came to her.
The end result was 39 lines of words on a page, floating in the sky next to a backdrop of New York and the Twin Towers standing tall, both decorated with an American flag. Kensington Photo in Kensington, CT produced the image that accompanies her poem.
"We need to hold onto our kindred spirit/ and camaraderie,/ as we shall all meet again/ in eternity./It is the perfect September day always to mourn,/ 9/11/01," Kassey wrote in the last phrase of her poem.
She read the poem in 2002 in Hartford as the Sweet Adelines a cappella group sang in the background.
Kassey replicated that moment at a 9/11 memorial service at Company One on Sunday morning, reading her poem aloud to local residents, town employees, police officers, firefighters and Heather Toyen, whose sister, Amy died on 9/11. Members of the Sweet Adelines sang behind her.
Editor's Note: The full recording and the copyrighted poem, which Kassey gave Patch permission to publish, are posted with this article.