Honor and remembrance

Milford’s younger students don’t remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001 because they weren’t born yet.

Mayor Ben Blake pointed that out previously during a Sept. 11 ceremony at Live Oaks School.

There is a memorial garden in honor of three Milford men who perished in the terrorist attacks: Michael Miller and Avnish Patel, graduates of Live Oaks School, and Seth Morris, who graduated from Mathewson School.

The three residents were remembered Wednesday in a ceremony at Jonathan Law High School.

The city was also expected to honor Jordan Pierson, who was 21 when he died fighting for his country in Iraq.

Following the opening ceremony at Law Wednesday, several activities were scheduled to commemorate the day and all those who perished in the tragic attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

It’s more important now that these ceremonies and reminders carry on. As the mayor said several years ago, second graders from Live Oaks, and their contemporaries, were not born when tragedy struck in 2001.

“These are the lessons that these students will learn in class,” Blake said.

Few if any of us who were adults at the time can forget where they were when they realized that the world they knew had drastically changed. We were under attack. Our friends, our families, our neighbors were the targets.

Many of us remember staring with glazed eyes at television screens, struggling to get through our workdays as we frantically called friends and family members to make sure they were OK. We called our children at their schools, just to make sure they were safe, because we didn’t know what was going to happen next.

The Bravest, Finest and Best among us never hedged in their devotion to duty, saving what lives they could. Their actions, and those of countless bystanders, kept the death toll from being as high as it might have been.

But too many were gone, far too soon. There was too much pain, too much grief, and the accompanying anger.

The images are burned into the collective conscience. Clouds obscuring lower Manhattan. Gaping voids in the New York skyline. Scars on the command center of our military. A crater in a field in Pennsylvania where patriots stopped cowards who hid behind innocents from striking another target.

We must never forget that crystal blue September day.

But as we again mourn the lost and reflect on the heroism, we must not forget another date just as important. We need to remember the America of Sept. 12, 2001. For on that date we were all Americans. We weren’t Republicans or Democrats. We weren’t separated by race, creed or religion. We were as one, collectively attacked, and united in our resolve that this was our America, and no one was going to change that.

Americans came together. Americans donated blood. Americans collected food. Americans took care of the bereaved. And we were all Americans.

We need to remember, and we need to teach children what happened on those days.