Thursday, 4:30 PM
Patrick leads solemn ceremony to remember Sept. 11
By April Simpson and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
As fog shrouded the State House steps, Governor Deval Patrick led a solemn ceremony this morning to mark the sixth anniversary of Sept. 11, calling the terrorist attacks of 2001 "a failure of human understanding."
"We meet to honor the lives of the 206 sons and daughters of our community who were lost six years ago," Patrick told a group of 200 people, including officials and victims' relatives, gathered at the flag pole on the Capitol lawn. "Our tribute is for each of them, and our condolences are with each of you."
While "The Star-Spangled Banner" was sung, the flag was raised to the top of the pole and then slowly lowered halfway back down. Two men played "Taps" on trumpets.
A crowd of 75 onlookers gathered at the bottom of the steps, watching the ceremony from the opposite side of the black, wrought-iron fence.
After a moment of silence, Patrick greeted the victims' relatives. He read the names of 17 people who were killed that day. A bell rang.
The relative of a victim read the next block of names. The bell rang again.
It continued, until the name of each of the 206 victims had been uttered aloud.
"We wish them peace where they are," Patrick said. "We honor them by seeking peace where we are."
Among those attending both ceremonies were Zachary and Joyce Meltzer, whose 32-year-old son, Stuart, died when the World Trade Center collapsed after being struck by two airliners that took off from Logan International Airport.
Meltzer's younger brother, Kenneth, said the family had previously marked the anniversary at Ground Zero, but decided to spend this year in Massachusetts after the New York ceremonies were moved away from the site because of construction of the Freedom Tower, which will replace the twin towers.
Despite the passage of time, Kenneth Meltzer said the pain endures. Stuart Meltzer had been an energy trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, a commodities firm that suffered heavy losses in the attack.
"It's like yesterday. And one of the main reasons is you can't get away from it," Meltzer said. "You can't turn on the TV without seeing burning towers. You also can't get over the fact you can't talk to that person ever again."
Earlier in the morning, Mayor Thomas M. Menino placed a wreath of red, white and blue flowers at the pink granite memorial to the 206 people with Massachusetts connections who died in the attack.
Bells from the nearby Arlington Street Church rang to the tunes of Amazing Grace and America the Beautiful.
The Massachusetts ceremonies were to end with a commemorative observance in the House chambers, as well as the presentation of a bravery award named for Madeline "Amy" Sweeney, an American Airlines flight attendant who detailed the attacks to the authorities before her jetliner was crashed into the World Trade Center.
At Logan International Airport, meanwhile, a moment of silence was scheduled and U.S. flags were draped over checkpoints.
The American Red Cross and the Boston Red Sox also scheduled a blood drive at Fenway Park in honor of 9/11 victims.
Material from the Associated Press is included in this report.