Amid fluttering flags and candle flames struggling in a stiff breeze, Gov. John G. Rowland led a memorial for Sept. 11 victims on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

A crowd of several hundred gathered Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil on Hartford’s Riverfront Plaza, singing patriotic songs and invoking God.

“One thing we learned about our nation,” Rowland said, “We can have great grief and great determination at the same time and act on both.”

Frank DiMartino of East Windsor wore a T-shirt decorated on the back with a photo of his niece, Renee Newell of the West Warwick area in Rhode Island. The 38-year-old flight attendant was killed aboard the first plane that struck the World Trade Center, he said.

“I came mostly for her, but in memory of everyone else,” DiMartino said.

A group of more than two dozen Boy Scouts from Hartford participated in a flag-raising ceremony.

“I want to help out and show what scouting is about,” said Sean Horan, 13, of Hartford

At the candlelight vigil attended by Rowland and religious and civic leaders, the names of each of Connecticut’s 149 victims of the attacks was read aloud, followed by the ringing of a bell.

“The struggle of the last year has been a struggle for many to find meaning,” Rowland said. “Keep finding meaning in faith and love. Let the healing begin.”

Throughout Connecticut on Wednesday, ceremonies are scheduled at houses of worship, schools, colleges and universities, the state Capitol and town centers.

–Associated Press