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MA organizations pay tribute to lives lost on 9/11

The 9/11 Memorial at Boston Logan Airport. Various organizations throughout Massachusetts will be hosting events all day Wednesday in observation of the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. COURTESY OF FLICKR

Wednesday is the eighteenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and community organizations across Massachusetts will be hosting various events in the coming days to preserve the memory of those who died during the attacks while also showing their support for America’s veterans.

During that infamous day, 2,997 people lost their lives after terrorists launched an attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and crashed a plane in Pennsylvania. Among those who died were hundreds of first responders — firefighters, police officers and paramedics — who sacrificed themselves to rescue those affected by the attacks.

One of the first events of the day will be led by the the Massachusetts 9/11 Fund, which is hosting its annual commemoration event.

Faith Arter, the president of the board for the Massachusetts 9/11 Fund, said the commemoration event will start at 8:30 a.m. when the names of 2016 Massachusetts residents who lost their lives that day will be read on the steps of the Massachusetts State House. 

Arter said that of the 206 names to be read out loud Wednesday morning, 10 will be read by their loved ones.

The reading will be followed by a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., after which Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker will preside over a flag lowering ceremony, Arter said.

After the reading, the event will move into the House of Representatives chamber at 9:30 a.m., where Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo will preside over a private commemoration service that will be streamed live online, Artur said.

During the service, the Massachusetts 9/11 fund will play a video montage of those from the state who died, which Arter said was “such beautiful pictorial rendering and music to honor their memory.”

Near the end of the service, the Lieutenant Governor will then announce the winner of the Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery — which was established in remembrance of the flight attendant onboard American Airlines Flight 11 who bravely informed authorities with critical information five hijackers on board, Arter said. Prior award winners will also be present.

Arter said that Joe Andruzzi, a former offensive guard with the New England Patriots and a Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor will be the keynote speaker and will speak in tribute to the first responders who lost their lives both during the attacks and as a result of health complications associated with the attacks.

“These tributes are so appreciated by the families and all of us as we remind ourselves of that tragedy,” Arter said.

Arter said Andruzzi’s father and two brothers all served at ground zero as first responders and that, luckily, they survived the attack.

The Massachusetts 9/11 Fund’s day of remembrance will end at 1:00 p.m. with a wreath laying ceremony at the Boston Public Garden’s 9/11 memorial garden.

“I think it’s so important that our community continues to honor our commitment to Always Remember,” Arter said. “The commemoration, even though it’s 18 years after, is very, very meaningful.”

On Saturday, the Travis Manion Foundation will also be hosting Boston’s first annual 9/11 Heroes Run in Franklin Park.

Race director Michael Fain said the race will begin at 9:30 a.m., and over 100 participants will either walk, run or ruck — in which they wear weighted backpacks to simulate the equipment carried by members of the military — the 5-kilometer course.

“This is my first time ever, you know, organizing a race like this,” Fain said, “So it’s definitely a learning process for me, but it’s been fun.”

Fain said that, currently, the race has 100 runners signed up and 30 volunteers. He also said the organization plans on increasing the turnout next year.

“We are running for those who have sacrificed their lives, whether it was in 9/11 or thereafter of the first responders or the military,” Fain said.

Registration is available until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday and will be reopened Saturday morning, Fain said.

Fain said that Travis Manion was killed in action in April 2007, and that Manion’s mother and sister founded the non-profit, which seeks to empower veterans after they return from service.

Jackie Wright, 48, of Dorchester, said she did not have any connection to the tragedy, but she still remembered when she found out about the attacks as she was working at the Boston Conservatory.

“Shortly after nine o’clock, I hadn’t heard what happened. And my boss came in and said, essentially, in summary what had happened,” Wright said. “And then at that point, I got on the computer and looked at the news reports.”

Abra Lodge, 38, of Brookline, said she had an uncle from New York City who had been a block away from the first bombing. 

“I had gone to New York several times a year previous to that. And then after that, my step father would not go back to New York at all,” Lodge said. “He was in complete denial about it. And it was another 12 years before I could get to New York.”

Braintree resident Daniel Smith, 27, said that he was in first grade on 9/11.

“It’s just a very, very terrible day. I was a little bit young to grasp everything that was going on,” Smith said.

Smith said that he did not remember a lot that happened when he was in class, but students were picked up early from school.

“I knew something was wrong,” Smith said, “but I didn’t really know what was that wrong.”


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