There was song and moments of silence. There were tears and moments of remembrance.
Twelve years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, those who lost family members and friends from Connecticut gathered Tuesday night to honor their loved ones.
The annual state Sept. 11 memorial ceremony was held at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport. A living memorial stands there in memory of the nearly 3,000 innocent people killed that day.
One-hundred-sixty-one people with ties to Connecticut were among those who died from the attacks. During the ceremony, the 161 names were read, while relatives and friends of the victims held white roses, and wiped away tears.
The U.S. Coast Guard Cadet Glee Club sang "The Star-Spangled Banner", "America the Beautiful", and "American Tears."
The message from religious and state leaders was clear: never forget.
"I hope for some of you, what you never forget is the greatness of your loved one. The smile, the inspiration that when they were living they gave each of you," said Governor Dannel Malloy.
"I know your heartache remains and always will, and that is why it is so important for all of us, as a state, a nation, to stand with you," said Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman.
White roses were laid on names etched in granite at the memorial site. There, each life lost is honored with the promise that Connecticut will always remember, and never forget.
The memorial sits at the edge of the park, across from New York's skyline. Some say they remember seeing the twin towers fall from the park the day of the attacks.
"Along with the pain today, shows that you and we have the resolve to keep the promise we made 12 years ago," said Wyman.
"I will never forget the dedication of men and women who rushed to the site, who ran into harm's way. The firemen and the policemen," said Malloy.
"Today also shows that along with the wounds and scars, there is also beauty and love," said Wyman.