By Used with permission from the Lowell Sun Online.
By MICHAEL LAFLEUR
LOWELL- Beautiful and meditative.
Those are the words most frequently used yesterday to describe Unity, a public memorial designed by UMass Lowell students to commemerate Sept. 11 victims with ties to their school.
"What the students put together is amazing," said Patti Quigley of Wellesley, whose husband, Patrick, died aboard United Airlines Flight 175. "To use their energy in such a positive way and have the foresight to be able to create something that will enable future generations to understand the impact of 9-11. The spot is beautiful."
Quigley is a UMass Lowell graduate and Lowell native. Her husband also was from Lowell.
He was among seven victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks whose names are inscribed on the circular monument, which is surrounded by oriental grasses and topped with a tree, called a Harry Lauder walking stick, pointing skyward. Unity is located beside Leitch Hall, at 111 Pawtucket St., on the Riverwalk. The site is a scenic promontory overlooking the Merrimack River shoals beneath the University Avenue Bridge.
Representives for Lowell's local, state and federal delegations, school officials and students were there yesterday to dedicate the project, which was funded by UMass Lowell and its student government association.
"Not only does this site serve as a refuge and mental resting place, but it also serves to remind passersby of the inherent bond that unites our community," said Andre Gorgenyi, 25, a Tewksbury native and 2002 UMass Lowell graduate who was one of the driving forces behind the memorial.
Unity was designed by UMass Lowell art students Gail Milligan, 46, and Rebekah Hermans, 31, both of Lowell, and Auburn, N.H., resident Janet Wittlinger, 33.
"In some small way, we hope that by your knowing that this university will never forget your loved ones, we have made your suffering a little lighter," state Sen. Steven Panagiotakos told the family members assembled.
Darlene Kinney the mother of Brian Kinney, of Lowell, who also died aboard Flight 175 and whose family runs a gas station on Pawtucket Street not far from the memorial said she planned to be a regular visitor to the site.
"You just feel like you're connected, you know, spiritually," she said. "I'm definitely going to park my car at the gas station and just walk down here and do the (Riverwalk) and just meditate."
Among those remembered are: Douglas A. Gowell, class of 1971; Robert J. Hayes, '86; Brian K. Kinney, '95; John A. Ogonowski, '72; Patrick J. Quigley IV; Jessica Leigh Sachs, whose parents are alumni; and Christopher Zarba, who studied at UMass Lowell in the 1970s.