BOSTON (CBS) – Across the Commonwealth Wednesday, communities honored the lives lost on September 11th, and the many heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice since.

Gold Star families remembered their loved ones killed in combat at the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Memorial in the city’s Seaport. The families may not have lost their hero on 9/11 – but for many it was that day that called those men and women to serve.

Each candle around the new 50-foot memorial represents a bright life – a Massachusetts hero who gave everything in service.

“He was a patriotic kid… He wanted to serve his country and that’s what he did,” said Gold Star mother Mary Dona.

Private First Class Christopher Dona was killed in a 2013 parachuting accident, years after he stood on the Dudley town common the night of 9/11.

Vigil held at Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Memorial in Boston on 9/11/19. (WBZ-TV)

“He was only nine years old at the time but he was happy and proud he was out there. The cars going by honking their horns. It brings up memories of that night,” Paul Dona recalled.

Command Sergeant Major Martin Barreras and his family gave decades of service. He was killed in 2014.

“He was the best dad. He was one of the most humble and selfless people. I’ll think of something and turn around to tell him or try to call. Sometimes I try to remember what his voice sounded like,” said Gold Star daughter Victorria Barreras.

Earlier in the day at the State House, firefighters from across Massachusetts remembered their own who ran toward danger. Among the names added to their memorial this year, Worcester Firefighter Christopher Roy. He was killed in the line of duty less than a year ago.

“On behalf of a grateful commonwealth, I want all of you to know, we here in Massachusetts will never forget,” said Governor Charlie Baker.

Juli McDonald


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