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Sept. 11 Places And Memories: The Boxing Gym05:01
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Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Nearly 3000 people died that day. Two-hundred-and-six of them had strong ties to Massachusetts. They left behind not only their loved ones, but an invisible imprint on places around the state.

Chris Mello died on Sept. 11, 2001, a passenger on American Airlines Flight 11.

His father is Doug Mello and his boxing coach is Greg Leschishin.

Doug Mello:
Chris was a 25-year-old Princeton graduate working for a wonderful small firm called Alta.

He was a terrific athlete. Middle linebacker, tight end. Tougher than the pounds he wore.

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One of his predilections was to get in some — how should we say — fight situations. And they were always defending somebody — people who got out of line. He never had a fight with anybody who was a friend. And I learned a lot later that he was so good, because he was raw-boned and he had no fear, he would just take out people a lot bigger than he was that were causing a problem.

He called me one day, he said, "Dad, a lot of the guys from the company are going down to get some boxing lessons." Now, these guys, they've been going down there for three or four months, is my understanding and they have not been let in the ring. Chris goes down there and the teacher says, "Man, you're ready."

Greg Leschishin:
Most of the clients that came to our gym were looking for alternative workouts, a different kind of a cardio exercise routine. Christopher Mello was a little different, in a sense. He, apparently, was looking for something that was a bit on the competitive side.

I've done this for 37 years now and a lot of young people, mostly guys, have this idea that "Well, it can't be that big of a deal." And I always say, "If you've never done dancing lessons or music you're going to have trouble."

Christopher was one of those people who seemed to (get boxing), because he was physically a strong man, but he had balance and coordination. He was an athlete.

Doug Mello:
After he died they asked me to speak. And I spoke from the middle of the ring about my kid. It was a wonderful moment. It was just such an odd situation, to have a kid who was just a supreme athlete, good son in the middle of a bunch of boxing people. And they loved him as much as we did.

That's my Christopher.

More:

10 Years Later: Remembering 9/11

This segment aired on September 9, 2011.

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