Milford honors 3 of its own in 9/11 ceremony
MILFORD >> Fire Chief Douglas Edo rang the bell at 8:46 a.m. Sunday as Fire Commission Chairman Kevin C. McGrath read the names of three from Milford who were among the nearly 3,000 who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
McGrath named Michael Miller, Seth Morris and Avnish Patel at the exact time the first plane hit New York’s World Trade Center.
“That’s a bell that can never be un-rung,” state Rep. Charles Ferraro, R-117, said.
The ceremony was held in front of the Woodruff Family YMCA on Orange Avenue, against the backdrop of a shiny red ladder truck.
Milford was among communities from throughout Connecticut and the country that marked the 15th anniversary of 9/11 on Sunday.
“Today we grieve and mourn for those we lost that day,” Milford Mayor Benjamin G. Blake said as the Fire Department Honor Guard stood nearby.
Blake named the three men from Milford and said it was a time to remember and celebrate first-responders, fire, police and medics, who ran into the burning building and rescued hundreds.
• Miller, 39, who lived in Englewood, N.J., at the time of the attack, graduated in 1980 from Joseph A. Foran High School, where he was named best athlete, lettering in football, basketball and track.
He was a partner at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th floor of Tower One.
Miller’s No. 12 jersey was retired by Foran after his death. A scholarship was set up at Foran in his honor, in which his mother, Betty Ann Miller, has said the family takes great comfort.
• Morris was considered a hero in the earlier, 1993 World Trade Center terrorist attack for carrying a pregnant woman more than 90 floors to safety.
• Patel, 28, a research analyst focusing on health care companies for Fred Alger Management, was working on the 93rd floor of Tower One when the plane hit.
Patel’s journey to Milford was a bold move. When he was just 13, he left his family in London and boarded a plane to New York, moving to Milford to live with relatives, Raj and Meena Patel.
He attended Live Oaks Elementary School for a year, and spent two years at Joseph A. Foran High School.
He moved to New York to be with his older brother, Yogesh, and graduated from high school there.
Following the ceremony, the Milford Prevention Council held a 5K & Family Day with super-heroes the theme of the day.
Blake said he was in law school at the time of the attacks, but taking a day off to help a friend in a neighboring town with his political campaign.
When he heard reports of the planes crashing, Blake said he at first felt “numbness,” then an urge to get back home with family.
Hijacked planes slammed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Penn., in the deadliest terror attack on American soil.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said on Sunday news shows that the United States is safer now than it was in 2001 against another 9/11-style attack, but continues to face the challenge of potential attacks by solo and homegrown violent extremists.
President Barack Obama, speaking at the Pentagon memorial service, praised America’s diversity and urged Americans not to let their enemies divide them.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.