Thursday, 4:30 PM
Flag lowered at the State House as 9/11 memorials begin
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Correspondent
The flag on the State House lawn was raised this morning against a bright blue, cloudless sky and then lowered to half staff to mark the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
In a brief but solemn ceremony, members of the Massachusetts Air National Guard walked stiff-legged down the State House stairs. To the tune of the Star Spangled Banner, the soldiers saluted the freshly raised flag and then pulled it back halfway down the flagpole as a single bugle played Taps.
"While five years seems to be a long time, the memories I have are so real in my mind it seems like only yesterday," said Lieutenant Colonel Jim Ogonowski, whose brother, John Ogonowski, was the captain of American Airlines flight 11.
"At 8 o’clock in the morning," Ogonowski said. "Life was normal."
Captain John Ogonowski lived on a 150-acre farm in Dracut, Mass., with his wife and three daughters. He took off from Boston Logan International Airport that morning and his plane was hijacked and flown into the north tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m.
"Our lives changed," Lieutenant Colonel Jim Ogonowski said this morning with the governor and lieutenant governor standing a few feet behind him.
"We have been told that our pain and sorrow will ease with the passage of time," Ogonowski said. "Five years later I can tell you it is starting, but we know it will never go away."
Governor Mitt Romney followed Ogonowski at the podium, speaking of the loss of parents, children, husbands, mothers, brother and sisters to "crazed fanatics."
"It is hard for our minds to contemplate a human darkness so vile that it celebrates murder and destruction of innocent lives," Romney said. "But we can celebrate the bright memories of the fallen."