It has been 17 years since thousands of people were forever affected by the 9/11 terror attacks and the greater Boston area will honor the tragic moment in history with a series of somber events.
American flags will be at half-staff at various locations, while ceremonies will honor the lives of those who were killed. A total of 206 residents from the Bay State died during the attacks and their names were read aloud during a remembrance ceremony.
That ceremony was held Tuesday morning at the Massachusetts State House, where a moment of silence also honored the deceased. The commemoration then moved to the House of Chambers, where the 2018 Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery was presented.
Sweeney was an American Airlines flight attendant on Flight 11 who alerted ground crews about the hijackers on her plane. She gave authorities vital information. The award in her name honors those who show the same kind of bravery.
This year, the award went to Ray Armistead and Ryan Saba, two Bridgewater men who risked their lives to save a couple stuck in a disabled car on a railroad crossing as a train approached during a snowstorm last January.
“With little time to spare before tragedy struck, Ray Armistead and Ryan Saba acted decisively to intervene and help two strangers in an urgent and hazardous situation,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a better place because of people like Ray and Ryan and their bravery rightly honors the proud tradition of these awards and the legacy of service tragically begun by Madeline Amy Sweeney on September 11, 2001.”
A private reception for the families of 9/11 victims was held Tuesday afternoon at the Garden of Remembrance in Boston’s Public Garden to lay a wreath and flowers at a memorial.
Observations were also held in communities across Massachusetts and New England throughout the day.
Volunteers from across the state filled the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston to make care packages for those who served and are still serving.
The 10th annual event put on by the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund happened with the help of high school students who are part of a non-profit called Project 351. Many of the students only know about 9/11 from history books, but felt it was important to mark the anniversary with service.
"Everyone around me talks about how they lost someone and I want to pay respect to all of them," Kayla Martelli, a freshman at Revere High School said.
The desire from young people to help in honor of an event they didn’t live through means everything to those who lost someone that day.
"It’s important to teach them about the positive that came afterwards," Cindy McGinty said, who lost her husband Michael on 9/11. "Let's recreate the minutes after that bad thing happened, the good things that came out of it, so terrorists don’t win."