Ceremony honors those lost September 11, 2001

Betty Ann Miller lost her son Michael in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

“It's easier as time goes by,” Miller said Thursday at Milford’s Sept. 11 Memorial ceremony.

She said she still cries occasionally.

“Not like I used to, every day,” she said.

Michael Miller, Avnish Patel and Seth Morris were remembered at the ceremony, as were others who perished that day. The three men singled out for recognition here grew up in Milford and attended school here.

Avnish Patel's uncle, Raj Patel, attended the Milford ceremony, standing quietly as officials made speeches and clergy offered prayers.

Avnish was his sister's son, Raj Patel said.

“My sister lives in England,” Patel said. “The first couple of years were really tough. Now she's accepted it.

“We're fine,” he added, but said, “You don't forget. I'm glad people are here.”

Officials and clergy who spoke Thursday evening at the ceremony at the Memorial behind City Hall focused on the spirit that united the country after September 11.

“That day changed the city and changed our nation, but not in the way the terrorists intended,” said the Rev. Cynthia Knapp of St. Peter’s Church.

She said the devastation reminded people how precious life is.

There was a numbness that people felt after the attacks, recalled Mayor Ben Blake. He said he felt that same numbness after the school shootings in Sandy Hook and after Jonathan Law High School student Maren Sanchez was stabbed to death at school.

The U.S. flag, the symbol of freedom, helped assuage that helpless feeling after September 11 and after many other crises, he said, pointing to a huge American flag that firefighters had draped from the top of a tower truck for the Milford ceremony.

Today, he said, when citizens gather to remember those killed on September 11, “They also celebrate how we refused to yield to terrorism.”

September 11 used to be a day of celebration for Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman because it is her wedding anniversary.

“But we haven't celebrated it on September 11 since 2001,” she said.

Wyman pointed to a September 11 pin on her lapel that she has worn nearly every day since the terrorist attacks.

“We will never, ever forget,” she said.