Milford hosts 9/11 event, firefighters benefit

MILFORD – Beginning at 8 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, about 100 people gathered on the Town Common on the Oval to honor those who died Sept. 11, 2001, as well as the emergency workers who rushed to scenes of devastation in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.

The "Remembering 9/11" event began with Town Moderator Peter Basiliere recalling that Tuesday morning 15 years ago.

"Parents were work­ing, children were getting used to their new schools, volunteers were going to places to help, retirees were having breakfast with friends," he said.

On that remarkably beautiful morning, the unthinkable happened: America came under at­tack as terrorists crashed commercial airplanes into the World Trade Cen­ter, the Pentagon and fi­nally into a Pennsylvania field.

Nearly 3,000 people died, including 372 people from 90 countries, Basil­iere reminded the crowd.

In his invocation, Kyn Gdanian, of the Light of the World Church, called it an "unspeakable trag­edy" because human lives were lost to human vio­lence, and asked people to pray for families touched by the tragedy.

Selectmen’s Chairman Mark Fougere recognized Jack Kelly, Eric Schelberg and Michael Viola, the re­spective heads of the town fire, ambulance and police departments, who "protect us 24 hours a day, seven days a week." He remem­bered the pride of country and singleness of purpose in the tragedy’s aftermath and asked that we could do to get back to that again.

The Souhegan Valley Chorus led singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner," "God Bless America" and "Let There Be Peace on Earth."

Milford Police Capt. Shawn Pelletier was a young patrolman working in northern Manhattan on 9/11. There was so much work to do, he said, officers were given 12-hour rotat­ing shifts, one on patrol and one at ground zero.

"I’ll never forget people cheering" the police van as it made its way back and forth to ground zero, he said. "Diners stayed opened 24 hours just to feed us. We need more of that coming together and unity."

Milford High School Constitution team coach Dave Alcox read a proc­lamation from President Barack Obama proclaim­ing Sept. 11 a National Day of Service and Re­membrance.

Karen Artemik, of the Milford Ambulance Ser­vice, read a proclamation from Gov. Maggie Hassan, and state Sen. Gary Dan­iels read one from the New Hampshire General Court. Milford VFW Cmdr. Steve Sears reminded people to thank those in military service, veterans and emergency respond­ers for protecting us.

Basiliere asked for a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. – the time that Ameri­can Airlines Flight 11, the first of four commer­cial planes that terror­ists turned into weapons, crashed into the north face of the World Trade Center’s north tower.

Ceremonies ended as the Town Hall’s Paul Re­vere bell tolled 15 times.

The event was organized by the Milford Rotary Club and the town ambu­lance, fire and police de­partments. After the cer­emonies, people walked over to the firehouse for the Rotary Club’s pancake breakfast, a benefit for the Milford Fireman’s Relief Association.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.