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 firstname.lastname@example.org.