Milford remembers: Sept. 11 ceremony salutes freedom

Three Milford men died in the terrorist attacks against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, and they were remembered Monday at a memorial ceremony at Platt Technical High School.

“We remember Michael Miller, Avnish Patel and Seth Morris,” Mayor Ben Blake said as Platt students, many of whom weren’t born when the terrorists struck, gathered in front of the school, alongside a Milford fire truck with its ladder extended.

State Rep. Pam Staneski spoke at the ceremony, and said she knew the three men, all of whom went to Milford schools.

She said she could imagine them boarding the train to New York City with countless other business people that day, heading to work as if it was just another day.

“We are here today to remember and not to forget,” Staneski said. “We live in the greatest country in the world, and we should never forget that.”

Platt Tech Principal Scott Zito said the Americans who responded after the attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941 defined a generation of people who selflessly fought and died for their country. Similarly, first responders, police, firefighters and regular citizens stepped up to do all they could to help after the terrorists attacked in 2001.

“It is the common ideal that binds us all to the flame of freedom,” Zito said.

People who were old enough 16 years ago remember where they were at the moment terrorists launched their strikes.

State Rep. Charles Ferraro remembers that he was at home, watching the news on television, and that he called his wife, who was working at the VA Hospital in West Haven.

Mayor Blake remembers how he felt as he watched the coverage of the attacks: He needed to get in touch with family, just to connect with them on that terrible day.

For today’s students who weren’t born in 2001, or who were too young to realize what happened on that Sept. 11, history lessons have to fill in the gaps: The site sums it up.

“On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.”

The attacks triggered major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism and defined the presidency of George W. Bush.

Memorial services took place around the country on Monday, as those who remembered, and those who didn’t, gathered to pay their respects.

State Rep. Kim Rose, who did not speak at Monday’s ceremony at Platt Technical School, said after the flag had been raised and students had re-entered the school that she feels sorry for the post 9-11 citizens because they did not get a chance to enjoy that sense of freedom that prevailed before the terrorist attacks.

“They are not able to understand that feeling of complete freedom that was stolen from us that day,” Rose said.