WILMINGTON — On Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, Wilmington officials and members of the community joined together to remember the 20th anniversary of the attack of the U.S. on 9/11/01.
The service started at the Wilmington High School auditorium. Before entering the auditorium, guests could view pencil portraits drawn by artist Gina Johnson. Johnson’s display was titled “Putting a Face to Every Name,” as portraits were of the victims of 9/11.
Once in the auditorium, the community gathered in front of a large projection screen that rotated scenes from that fateful day as well as photos from memorials in the center of town.
Members from all walks of the community were in attendance, including a large representation from the Wilmington High School student body. Uniformed Wilmington High School football team members huddled together in remembrance as the Wilmington High School band played such pieces as “The National Anthem,” “America the Beautiful” and “Amazing Grace.”
The ceremony began with a procession of flags led by the Wilmington Police and Fire Honor Guard.
The Master of Ceremonies, Wilmington Selectman Gregory Bendel, set the tone for the event by stating, “We gathered here together to mourn our sorrow and strengthen our resolve.”
Many town officials were in attendance and spoke poignantly of that tragic day in 2001.
State Senator Bruce Tarr focused on the mindset of the American people during that time.
“Remember the unity that got us through those dark days,” he said.
Wilmington Town Manager Jeffrey Hull recalled life before 9/11 and the vast differences of life after 9/11.
Lilia Maselli, Chair of the Wilmington Board of Selectmen, spoke of the importance of this memorial.
“We must tell our children and grandchildren the tragedy of this day,” she stated.
State Representative David Robertson was almost brought to tears as he recalled the events of the day of the 2001 attack. He also remembered the unsettling silence of the days that followed.
Other speakers for the service included State Representative Ken Gordon, Director of Wilmington Veterans Services Lou Cimaglia, Wilmington Police Chief Joseph Desmond, and Wilmington Fire Chief William Cavanaugh.
Between speakers, a solemn bell was rung followed by a moment of silence at the time of impact for each fatal crash that occured on Sept. 11, 2001.
This part of the ceremony was concluded with words of comfort offered by Rev. Ron Grimley of the Abundant Life Church and Rev. Peter Hey of the United Methodist Church.
The ceremony then moved to the courtyard of the high school where a wreath was placed by the Wilmington High School 9/11 Committee followed by a benediction given by Fr. Ron Coyne of the Parish of the Transfiguration.
A wreath of remembrance was also placed at the Wilmington Public Safety Building and at the Wilmington War Memorial on the common.
The common was lined with 276 flags representing the Massachusetts residents who lost their lives during the 9/11 attack.
Town officials would like to thank the volunteer efforts of the Wilmington High School and Shawsheen Tech students, the veterans, and other members of the community that helped to display the flags.
Organizers of this event would also like to thank all the town departments that played a role in the 20th anniversary of 9/11 event, with special thanks to the 9/11 Committee.