Brian Koonz, News-Times (Danbury, Connecticut), November 7, 2009
As much as Gadiel [Peter Gadiel, whose son, Jamie, was killed in the 9/11 attacks in New York] wants his son to be remembered as one of the 3,000 victims who were killed that day, he wants the 9/11 co-conspirators–the “Muslim extremists,” he calls them–to be remembered as murderers.
This fall, Gadiel and the Kent Board of Selectmen have been at odds over the best way to pay tribute to Jamie, a true favorite son.
Gadiel wants six lines inscribed on a plaque that will be set in a stone on the Town Hall’s front lawn:
Born February 3, 1978
A gentleman and a gentle man
A lifelong resident of Kent
Murdered by Muslim extremists
September 11, 2001
It is the fifth line–“murdered by Muslim extremists”–that has struck a nerve in this quaint New England town and all across America on network TV, national talk radio, blogs and other forums primed for debate.
Kent First Selectman Ruth Epstein and the Board of Selectmen have asked Gadiel to strike the “murdered by Muslim extremists” line from his son’s planned memorial.
Town officials say the wording isn’t supported by residents, whose money would be used to pay for a memorial plaque.
Gadiel, a 30-year Kent resident, refuses to delete the “murdered by Muslim extremists” line.
“I think people are still in favor of some kind of tasteful memorial at Town Hall,” Epstein said. “I’m still willing to do that, but absolutely not with those words (murdered by Muslim extremists).”
Gadiel does not mince his feelings for Epstein and her successor, Selectman Bruce Adams, who was elected first selectman Tuesday and will take office Dec. 1.
“I have nothing but contempt for the two of them,” Gadiel said Friday. “If this is their idea of remembering my son, I don’t want his name even remotely associated with this town.
“I can’t tell you how many family members (of 9/11 victims) have called and supported me,” Gadiel said. “People need to know the truth about the people who murdered my son and 3,000 other people.”