TEWKSBURY — Tewksbury marked the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept, 11, 2001 with a parade and ceremony at the 9-11 memorial. Located at the intersection of Chandler and East streets, next to the Tewksbury Public Library, the memorial, constructed in 2005, is dedicated to the memories of two Tewksbury residents who died that day: Peter Hashem and Peter Gay, and to honor all who lost their lives.
A procession left from Tewksbury common, led by bagpipers Tim Sullivan, Nate Silva, and Rob Grannatt, accompanied by John Whittaker on snare drum. Members of the Tewksbury Fire Department, Police Department, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Tewksbury Lodge of Elks made their way to the memorial via Main Street.
As the color and honor guards approached, attendees stood and listened to the national anthem sung by The Tewksbury Swinging Seniors, led by director Ginny Desmond, accompanied by the Tewksbury Memorial High School concert band, led by Celeste Pellegrino.
Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Welcome remarks were extended by Robert Fowler, a member of the board of directors of the Tewksbury 9-11 Memorial Committee.
The day was bright and clear, and Larissa Gay, daughter of Peter Gay, who had been on Flight 11 from Logan Airport, spoke about her baby son, and how her father lives on in his smile.
On the 20th anniversary, Gay said, “Missing him is just as hard.”
Gay spoke of how Peter was a grandfather now.
“Thank you for your love… we miss you so much,” she said.
A granite memorial to Peter Gay was also unveiled in Taunton earlier that day. Gay was born in Taunton, but lived in Tewksbury.
After remarks by Tewksbury Police Chief Ryan Columbus and Tewksbury Fire Chief Joseph Kearns, the names of the 93 Massachusetts residents who perished on Sept. 11 were read by members of the police and fire departments.
TMHS senior Vanessa Waugh sang “Amazing Grace” after which 9-11 Memorial Committee board member Richard Cuoco shared the story of Gander, Newfoundland, and the incredible care and support the people of Gander showed to the thousands of passengers stranded when U.S. and Canadian airspace was closed.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, LTC Sam Poulton, U.S. Army, played “Taps,” accompanied by Debbie Boyce Lisiecki and Mark Sampson in echo. TMHS senior Gabriella Navarrete sang “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”
Fowler returned to the podium to share his ending remarks, urging, “Let us never forget this day…. keep the memory alive forever.”