BOSTON (CBS) — On the fifteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, ceremonies across Massachusetts were held to honor those killed on Sept. 11, 2001.
At the Public Garden in Boston Sunday morning, families left flowers at the 9/11 memorial and Mayor Marty Walsh presided over a wreath-laying ceremony.
Walsh said that, though 15 years have passed, the day never gets easier–but he commended victims’ families for carrying on the memories of those who died in the attacks.
“We honor your family members special legacies,” said Walsh. “The way they loved their family. The way they inspired their communities. And the way they live in all of our hearts. And also, in many many cases, the great things that have come out of their loss.”
Volunteers planted 3,000 American flags at the Public Garden.
At 8:30 a.m. Sunday, the reading of the names of more than 200 people with Massachusetts connections who died in the attacks took place in the State House.
Gov. Baker got very emotional during the somber ceremony, wiping away tears several times.Afterward, he told reporters, he kept looking into the audience at all the children who lost mothers and fathers on 9/11, and thinking of his own three children.
“I look at those sons and daughters who were growing up, and it’d just kill me not to be able to watch mine,” said Baker. “I think about all those people whose moms and dads didn’t get to watch their kids grow up, or who didn’t get to grow up with their parents. It’s really sad, and I really do hope we never forget.”
His message to those children? We’ve got your back, and we’re here for you.
Leslie Blair, whose sister, Susan, was a victim of the 9/11 attacks, began the ceremony with a poem entitled “We Remember Them.”
“It’s very lonely to be basically an only child now,” said Blair. “They say the longest relationship you have in this life is the one you have with your siblings. It just has altered my frame of reference forever.”
The State House ceremony was a mix of sadness and celebration, with some of the readers pausing to add notes of reflection about their loved ones.
“…And my irrepressibly goofy baby brother, Ariel Louis Jacobs,” said Claudia Jacobs while reading the victim’s names. “Despite it being 15 years, we still can’t believe you’re not coming back.”
Peg Ogonowski lost her husband, pilot John Ogonowski, when terrorists flew his plane into one of the twin towers. She told family members in the audience there are before-and-after moments that define their lives–like the moment she realized her husband had perished.
“CNN was scrolling news across the bottom of the screen saying that the first airplane was an American Airlines 767 enroute from Boston to Los Angeles,” she said. “That was my after moment.”
At 9:30 a.m., the annual memorial service was held inside the chamber of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, where the awarding of the Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery also took place.
Sweeney, an Acton resident, was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, the first of two planes hijacked from Boston. She is credited with discreetly contacting authorities and providing key information about the hijackers.
The award was given to George Heath, who was killed in a stabbing rampage in Taunton while trying to save a waitress earlier this year. His wife, Rosemary Heath, accepted on his behalf.
At the Rose Kennedy Greenway, as part of the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund 9/11 Service Project, volunteers–including Mayor Walsh–assembled military care packages and wrote letters of support to our troops overseas.
At Fenway Park, The Red Sox, the American Red Cross, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center hosted the 14th annual Day of Remembrance Blood Drive.
Gov. Baker and his wife Lauren were in attendance.
Firefighters and families of fallen firefighters held a ceremony at the Massachusetts Fallen Firefighters Memorial at the State House Sunday afternoon. The event began with a firefighter and bagpiper procession from Boston Common.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports