Sunday will be a day of prayer, reflection, and mourning for most of us who lived through the traumatic events of September 11, 2001. It will also be an opportunity to teach our children— many of whom have no memory of that awful day — about the positive aspects of the country’s response to the terrorist attacks: the solidarity, the compassion, the heroism, and the resolve shown in the face of aggression and depravity.
Locally, there are several ways that we can include our kids in our remembering in a respectful, meaningful way that doesn’t necessarily expose them to the graphic imagery from that day. Some of them include projects aimed at engaging the public in a national day of service and remembrance — something that our own late Senator Edward Kennedy enshrined in a 2009 bill.
On Sunday morning, a group of young Dorchester veterans and their families are pulling together a “standout in remembrance of 9/11 and in support of America.” Families are asked to come out to Gallivan Boulevard at 11 a.m., bring a flag, and stand along the boulevard in tribute to the fallen of 9/11.
The idea is the brainchild of Marine Corps Sgt. Patrick Callahan, who served two tours in Iraq. Before enlisting, Callahan— a Savin Hill native— was a part of a large standout that was held along Morrissey Boulevard in the days after 9/11.
His fiance, Jillian Doherty — who has two brothers now serving in Afghanistan— is helping Patrick organize Sunday’s standout — which is coordinated to end as the 10 a.m. Mass lets out at St. Brendan’s.
“We’re hoping to line the whole boulevard,” says Doherty. “This is something that Patrick had thought about a couple of months ago. He just felt like we had to do something to remember.”
Doherty says that the concept is catching on through e-mails and fliers that are being faxed and shared across the neighborhood.
Most of the larger, local observances of 9/11 will take place in downtown Boston — and earlier in the day, starting with a 7:30 a.m. wreath-laying ceremomy with Mayor Menino in the Garden of Remembrance in the Public Garden (located near the corner of Arlington and Boylston streets.) The State House will be the site of a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. — the exact moment ten years ago Sept. 11 when the first plane — Flight 11 — hit the World Trade Center. Governor Patrick will preside over that ceremony.
“It’s really important to the families of 9/11 that people make the effort to turn out and participate,” says Patrice Keegan, the executive director of Boston Cares, the agency that is coordinating many of the 9/11 observances locally. “We’re encouraging everyone to get up a little bit early and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with your fellow Bostonians.”
Boston Cares will plant 3,000 flags in the Public Garden early on Sunday morning—around 7 a.m. – and help lead a ceremony featuring a 20-foot-by-30-foot mural created by families of 9/11 victims and Sidewalk Sam that will hang over the entrance to Boston City Hall for the week after 9/11.
At 11 a.m., Boston Cares will work with veterans on a care-package drive on the Rose Kennedy Greenway near Faneuil Hall. The packages will be sent to service men and women. They are also sponsoring several service projects around the city, including two in Dorchester, at the Mather School on Meetinghouse Hill and at the Career Academy of Science and Health, which is moving into new space on Charles Street in Fields Corner this week. More information on these efforts can be found online at bostoncares.org.
– Bill Forry