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Bin Laden's Death A Time To Reflect For Sept. 11 Victims' Families

This article is more than 12 years old.
Flowers and an American flag were laid on the Sept. 11 Memorial in Boston's Public Garden Monday. (Deborah Becker/WBUR)
Flowers and an American flag were laid on the Sept. 11 Memorial in Boston's Public Garden Monday. (Deborah Becker/WBUR)

Several of the loved ones of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks victims from Massachusetts gathered at Boston's Public Garden on Monday to mark the death of Osama bin Laden.

Deborah Becker was there and joined All Things Considered host Sacha Pfeiffer to discuss the event.

Sacha Pfeiffer: Who was at the Public Garden Monday?

Deborah Becker: It was a hastily called event, organized by the Massachusetts 9/11 Fund after word came late Sunday night or in some cases early Monday morning that bin Laden had been killed. Many of those in attendance commented that the event was taking place in weather conditions that were eerily similar to what they were like nearly 10 years ago, on Sept. 11, 2001.

Gov. Deval Patrick, Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, Attorney General Martha Coakley, State House leaders and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino were on hand to meet with the dozens of loved ones of the more than 200 Massachusetts 9/11 victims. Menino said he personally knew one of those killed whose name is listed on the Sept. 11 Memorial in the Public Garden.

One of the individuals on that pedestal there played hockey with my son. I was thinking a young kid and that we can never forget, we can't forget. It's a different world and we've always got to be vigilant. They don't have a leader now, that movement. You might have a lot of cowboys, individuals, that want to do things on their own. We gotta be vigilant and that's what the police department and other public safety officials are doing. But we shall never forget.

The mayor of course is alluding to the increased public safety put in place Monday because of bin Laden's death.

Was it a formal remembrance?

It was supposed to be a formal remembrance that started with the leaders of the Massachusetts 9/11 Fund calling for a moment of silence. After that, the loved ones of the victims all began consoling each other and talking with the officials and reporters there. It was clear that many of these people have formed a community of their own to help them grieve. So it wasn't really a formal address to the crowd, but a time to reflect. Many of the loved ones said they didn't want Monday's event to be a celebration at all but a remembrance of what had happened and of the lives lost.

Belmont's Danielle Lemac, 39, talked of her mother, Judy Larock, who was on American Airlines Flight 11. She said Monday was a day to think about her mom. Danielle said she is still very sad that her mom is not in her life and has never met her two children.

It's important that we remember the victims of terror and we appreciate you coming out here to honor our loved ones. It's not about Osama bin Laden. I'm so pleased that his voice has been silenced and he can't continue to harm other people. But today I want to remember mom and everybody else who was lost. They're not coming back and this doesn't change that.

Danielle and others who gathered at the Public Garden took 206 white roses and placed them next to the names engraved on the 9/11 memorial. That's one rose for each of the Massachusetts residents killed on Sept. 11. As they left the gathering, many of them said to each other: "See you in September, for the 10th anniversary."


This program aired on May 2, 2011.

Deborah Becker Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.



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