Milford honors its 9/11 victims, urges all never to forget
MILFORD >> Michelle Clark’s due date to have her third son was Oct. 4, 2001, but when she heard about the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Clark went into labor.
“I was upset, worried, I had two small other children,” Clark said.
But Clark said she was concerned about taking up space at the hospital - worried that others connected to the tragedy might need the help more than she, so she stayed home in excruciating labor pain from that Tuesday Sept. 11, 2001 until finally going to the hospital Saturday when her water broke. Her son was born quickly.
On Monday, in remembrance of the 16th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, Clark was among those in the city who attended a remembrance ceremony at Platt Technical High School, where her son born that Sept. 15, 2001, Scott Clark, is a student.
Hundreds of students like Scott, who were either not born by that day in history or too young to remember, stood outside the school to hear from officials in the community who want them to never forget what that day meant in America and how everyone pulled together.
In Milford, the loss of three of its own in the terrorist attack added to the poignancy. Among those killed when the Twin Towers went down were Michael Miller and Avnish Patel, both graduates of Live Oaks School, and Seth Morris, once a student at Mathewson School.
The names of the three from Milford were read as Fire Chief Douglas Edo rang a bell for each, Superintendent of Schools Elizabeth Feser led the Pledge of Allegiance, Platt student Abigail Cruz sang a flawless rendition of the National Anthem. City firefighters hung a huge American flag from the extended ladder of a fire truck.
Mayor Ben Blake, noting the back drop of tragedy Monday from hurricanes Harvey and Irma, told students that 9/11 was the kind of event that will mark one’s life forever.
Blake said he remembers the “numbness” he felt upon hearing the news and the strong desire to get back home to his parents’ house. Blake said he thinks about how the “heroes of Flight 93” fought back against terrorism, how 3,051 children lost a parent, how “ordinary Americans” stepped up to help.
In addition to remembering Milford’s victims by name, Blake said it was also a day to honor the police officers, firefighters and other first responders.
“Against the forces of evil, we defended our fundamental rights of patriotism and freedom,” Blake said.
State Rep. Pam Staneski, R-Milford, told students they weren’t at the ceremony just to hear a bunch of speeches, but rather to make sure they never “forget.”
“We need to help you remember. We are the greatest country in the world,” Staneski said.
Scott Clark, who said his interest in history has nothing to do with the events surrounding his mother’s labor, said: “I think this is great because I don’t think a lot of people my age understand (9/11/2001), or respect the flag,” to the degree it should be.
State Rep. Charles Ferraro, R-West Haven, told students there are two events he’ll never forget: the assignation of President John F. Kennedy when he was in fifth grade and Sept. 11, 2001.
When JFK was killed Ferraro was sent home early from school and he recalled there wasn’t a dry eye in any adult he passed on the way home.
On 9/11 he put the news on at 8 a.m. for a house guest — Ferraro said he doesn’t normally watch television in the morning — and they watched the first plane that hit the towers. He called his wife at the hospital where she works to see if she thought it was an attack. Then the second plane hit.
He noted the heroism of the day and said he was honored to be there at Platt among some of the local emergency responders who answered the call.
A quiet fell over the crowd of teenagers as Ferraro read a poem composed by students in a New York classroom whose teacher had a relative perish in the terrorist attack. They composed the poem, called a List of “Don’t Forgets” and “Remembers,” a year after Sept. 11, 2001.
The poem reads:
“We were eight.
Before September 11th, we would wake up with a list of “Don’t Forgets”
Don’t forget to wash your face
Don’t forget to brush your teeth
Don’t forget to do your homework
Don’t forget to wear your jacket
Don’t forget to clean your room
Don’t forget to take a bath
After September 11th, we wake up with a list of “Remembers”
Remember to greet the sun each morning
Remember to enjoy every meal
Remember to thank your parents for their hard work
Remember to honor those who keep you safe
Remember to value each person you meet
Remember to respect other’s beliefs
Now we are nine.”