Monday, September 10, 2012

Remembering September 11th

[This post was originally published, slightly different,  9 September 2011.  I revised it for Thomas MacEntee's website "GeneaBloggers", and the Remembering 9/11 meme today.  You can read all the posts by other genealogy bloggers at this link:

September 11th has always been difficult to remember or to write about. I remember that day very clearly since my husband lost a dear friend, and a co-worker that day. His company lost three employees on September 11th.  I was on the road, on a bright autumn day, coming home from the Rochester Fair.  Before I left I saw on the TV that one plane had hit a building in New York.  However, as I was driving the radio news evolved into something so horrific I had shut off the car radio.  I tried to find music on the air, but no one was playing music.   As I neared home I turned on the radio again and heard news worse than I could believe, and that Londonderry was letting the kids out of school early.  I pulled over into a service station, and called my husband's office.  When he told me his co-worker was on Flight 11 I could hardly drive the rest of way to the house.  I'll never forget that moment in time.  I can hardly pass that service station, even now more than 10 years later, without getting the willies.

Many people in Southern New Hampshire and nearby Massachusetts communities were on flights that were hi-jacked out of Boston. The air traffic controllers in nearby Nashua heard about the hi-jacking before the planes hit the towers in New York, and listened in horror as events unfolded. It has been difficult to find anything uplifting in the aftermath of the disaster. But time does heal wounds, and in the ten years since 11 September 2001 the communities in our area have come to terms with the sadness and shock. There were many somber, but positive and patriotic activities planned for the 10th anniversary.

Here are a few stories and photos of September 11th memorials in our area:

Londonderry, NH, September 11th Memorial
This memorial is on Londonderry Common, showing a dove of peace rising from the ruins of the World Trade Center in New York City. There is also a Peace Pole on Mack's Apple's property off Pillsbury Road, dedicated by the Girl Scouts of Londonderry on September 11th, 2006. It is six sided, with the words "May Peace Prevail on Earth" written in six languages. It is the site of an annual ceremony and bonfire every September 11th. or

Close to Londonderry there is also a memorial to September 11th at Benson Park in Hudson, New Hampshire. This spot is located on the land that was previously known as Benson's Wild Animal Park, on Kimball Hill Road. In nearby Dracut, Massachusetts are two memorials to Captain John Ogonowski, who was a resident of Dracut and Captain of Flight 11.
September 11th Memorial at Boston Public Garden

Chuck Jones's name is inscribed here

This memorial is located in Boston's famous Public Garden, near Arlington Street and the iconic Swan Boats. It lists the people lost from the Boston Area, including Col. Chuck Jones, my husband's friend and co-worker, who was on Flight 11. He lived in Bedford, Massachusetts and worked in Merrimack, New Hampshire. There is also a memorial at Boston's Logan Airport to the victims of American Airlines Flight 11 and United Flight 175.

There is also a Memorial Labyrinth dedicated to the 22 Boston College alumni who lost their lives on September 11th. It is a copy of the labyrinth at the Chartres Cathedral, France, and is located on the Campus of Boston College in Newton, Massachusetts.

Today Hampton, New Hampshire dedicated a new memorial naming victims of September 11th who are from this seacoast town.  You can read about the monument at this link:

Linda George, buried in Holden, Massachusetts
Most poignant to me is this simple gravestone. It is right next to my Dad's gravestone in Holden, Massachusetts. He died in 2002. This gravestone is very simple, but always neatly tended and nearly always has an American flag. It is the gravestone of Linda George, age 27 and engaged to be married, one of the seven TJ Maxx Corporation employees who were also on Flight 11. Her family lived in Holden. There is a memorial garden to the seven TJX employees in Framingham, Massachusetts, you can see it at this link

Our wonderful state of New Hampshire has come up with a gentle way of remembering September 11th that is very emblematic of the Granite State. One of the wonders of our geography is 48 mountains that reach to 4,000 feet or higher. Since we are a state that sits at sea level (all 18 miles of our coastline!) that is a curious thing to have such high mountains. "Peak-bagging" is a hobby for many Granite Staters, and they make it a lifetime effort to scale all 48 of these peaks.

On the day after September 11, 2001 a group of hikers raised an extra large flag on Mount Liberty in remembrance of the disaster. The event spread, with more hikers participating on more New Hampshire peaks the following September 11th. On the 10th anniversary of this event, thousands signed up to fly flags from all 48 of the 4,000 footers. Even non-hikers and the handicapped were able to join in since there are chair lifts, roads or a train to at least three of the peaks (Wildcat, Cannon, and Mount Washington). If you would like to participate you can check out the website, or email

This photo was found on Picasa
by "James" taken on 11 Sept 2010 on Mount Bondcliff, 4265 feet above sea level

This is a link to a story about the 4,000 footer flag raisings from the Union Leader, Newspaper of Concord, NH

Thanks for all the love rising from the rubble...


Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

1 comment:

  1. Heather, thank you for sharing your experiences and the love rising from the rubble. Very moving and another way to be sure the people whose lives were lost will not be forgotten. Peace...