By Jennifer Myers
LOWELL -- The clear sunny morning a decade ago when two passenger airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center's twin towers, America lost its sense of invincibility.
When the dust settled, nearly 3,000 Americans were dead, including seven members of the University of Massachusetts Lowell family, who in their deaths left behind six spouses, 10 children, nine parents and 13 siblings.
Yesterday morning they were remembered as the university's circular stone Sept. 11 memorial, "Unity," along the Riverwalk on the East Campus, was rededicated. The memorial, which overlooks the Merrimack River, was designed by UMass Lowell art students Gail Milligan and Rebekah Hermans both of Lowell, and Auburn, N.H., resident Janet Wittlinger. It was completed in 2004 on land shared by the university, the city and the national Park Service.
Chancellor Marty Meehan said that while Sept. 11 "was many things to many people. Above all it will always be about the 3,000 Americans who were killed and the 30 families in the Merrimack Valley who lost loved ones that day."
Lowell National Historical Park Superintendent Michael Creasey said it is fitting that the memorial sits along the banks of the Merrimack River, the force of nature on which the city was built.
"It represents the power of place, the power of nature, the power of ingenuity and the power of resilience," he said.
"National parks are the beholders of our nation's stories -- stories of triumphs, inspiring acts, heroes and heroines and events that symbolize America's struggle to survive as a nation. We are the community builders, we are the stewards. We are the storytellers of Lowell and its people."
Those honored by the memorial include:
- Brian Kinney: A member of the UML class of 1995, Kinney grew up pumping gas at his family's service station on Pawtucket Street. He studied accounting and was a manager of global-risk management solutions for PriceWaterhouseCoopers when he boarded United Airlines Flight 175 on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
- Robert Hayes: A member of the class of 1987, Hayes, was just as comfortable in a boardroom as he was in the ocean. It was not uncommon to see him strolling through an airport on a business trip with a briefcase in one hand and a surfboard in the other. A manager of sales and marketing development for Netstal Machinery, Hayes was aboard American Airlines Flight 11.
- Christopher Zarba: A software engineer for Concord Communications, Zarba studied at the university in the 1970s. Curious by nature, he loved to paint and garden, spoke Italian and German fluently and played the French horn in the Thayer Symphony Orchestra. He was aboard American Airlines Flight 11.
- Douglas A. Gowell: A member of the Lowell Technological Institute Class of 1971, Gowell was director of new market development for Avid Technologies. He was aboard United Flight 175.
- John A. Ogonowski: A member of the Lowell Technological Institute Class of 1972, Ogonowski served as a pilot during the Vietnam War. Well known in his hometown of Dracut, he could often be found working the family farm on Marsh Hill Road when he was not flying for American Airlines. He was the pilot and captain of Flight 11.
- Patrick J. Quigley IV: Quigley was the husband of Patti (Fleming) Quigley, UML Class of 1986, and son-in-law of professor emeritus M. Brendan Fleming, a former Lowell mayor. A collector of wine, Quigley, a partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, was aboard Flight 175.
- Jessica Leigh Sachs: A 2001 graduate of UMass Amherst, Sachs, the daughter of two UML graduates was an accountant for PriceWaterhouseCoopers. She was headed off on a business trip aboard Flight 11 that morning.