BOSTON — Residents across the Boston area marked the 10th anniversary of 9/11 in many ways. They attended memorial services, bicycled in road races, listened to original music inspired by that day, and they prayed. Many friends and families of the 206 Massachusetts 9/11 victims gathered in downtown Boston.
It was a gorgeous sunny day, much like Sept. 11, 2001. Only on Sunday, everyone was dressed in suits and dresses.
After hearing “Taps” and “The Star Spangled Banner,” the crowd of family and friends stopped. It was 8:46 a.m.
“Please join us in a one-minute-long moment of silence,” said state Secretary of Public Safety and Security Mary Elizabeth Heffernan.
This was the exact moment the first plane impaled one of the towers.
When the minute was over, the names started.
“Jeffrey William Coombs. Peter Christian Fry. Karleton Douglas Beye Fife.”
Family members took turns, adding their own special flourish when it was their loved one.
“My beautiful, wonderful daughter Lisa Fenn Gordenstein.”
It reminded listeners these were individuals, not just a list forever grouped together as the Massachusetts victims.
“Our mom, Judy Camilla Larocque. Natalie ‘Janis’ Lasden. Robert George LeBlanc.”
Inside the Massachusetts State House, a video slideshow put pictures with every name — women in wedding dresses, pilots in uniform, babies in bassinets.
Wise men tried to make sense of it for children who grew up without their parents, spouses who have had to raise their kids alone and flight crews who went back up without their flying partners.
“We know what we lost, but what have we gained in these 10 years?” Rabbi Harold Kushner asked the 9/11 victims’ family and friends at a ceremony inside the State House.
“We learned how resilient we could be as individuals, as families, as a nation. We learned that in a world divided between good people and bad people, the good ones overwhelmingly outnumber the bad ones,” he said.
United Airlines pilot Michael Grant sat in the back of the auditorium with dozens of pilots and flight attendants. It was important to be with colleagues on 9/11.
“I think about it every day,” Grant said.
As a longtime pilot, Grant knew several people who died that day.
“The people who carry on have to soldier on as our friends would have wanted us to do,” he said, his eyes welling up.
Grant was on his way to a special ceremony for flight attendants at Logan Airport. They planned to gather at Gate C19. That was the last place anyone saw the crew and passengers of United Flight 175.
These emotional ceremonies aren’t for everyone.
“For me the sadness and the grief sticks and I can’t shake it off afterwards,” said Cindy McGinty, dressed in a white T-shirt and jeans. A white rose was pinned on her shoulder.
McGinty lost her husband Mike. He was in a business meeting when the towers fell.
“So I need to be in a place where I can have busy hands and I can focus on my positive energy,” McGinty said.
The 9/11 widow helped organize a service project on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, where volunteers from the Military Heroes’ Fund and passersby filled 1,000 care packages for servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As much as she worries about keeping herself busy on the actual day of 9/11, McGinty said it’s the day after that’s really hard.
“I’m gonna get up, and the kids are going to go to school, and I’m going to be by myself. And there isn’t going to be this rush of love and support,” she said.