East Boston commemorates the 22nd anniversary of 9/11: “We will never forget!”


(EAST BOSTON- September 10, 2023) Under a misty and cloudy sky at Piers Park, a small group of East Boston residents and local first responders marked the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 attack on U.S. soil. The weather was not an obstacle.

As they have before, David Arinella, Master of Ceremonies and organizer Liane Sherman, introduced the afternoon’s program which included poetry and song from local singers and the YMCA senior choir and more than a few tributes. By the end of the program, a wreath named “Taps” was placed by Gabriella and Giana Ribeiro.

Devon Sherman recited Cheryl Sawyer’s poem “One” which emphasized the unity 9/11 instilled people from all walks of American life. “As we re-tell with pride of the sacrifice of heroes, We become one people.”

Berklee School of Music graduate Starr Desmond sang the National Anthem and Giana Ribeiro sand “God Bless America.” Longtime activist and civic leader Buddy Mangini lead in prayer.

The late activist Fran Rowan began commemorating the 9/11 to demonstrate East Boston’s support for those who made the ultimate sacrifice, including first-responders. It was those first-responders who rushed into buildings as others were running out of them. Her words still ring true long after she first wrote them in 2002. “It’s important for us today to memorialize the souls who departed that day, the selfless people who gave their lives trying to save those who had little chance of survival. The world stood still that day, but the human spirit would not be stilled. It is up to us to remember theme and the sacrifice they as well as their families made by carrying their memory on. We have set a standard for demonstrating the resilience of the American spirit.”

Of those who departed was Antonio Jesus Montoya Valdes, then 46 years old on September 11, 2001. Valdes was a passenger on American Airlines Flight 11

The audience heard from city Councilor Gabriela Coletta, state Representative Adrian Madaro and state Senator Lydia Edwards, all who paid respect to the first-responders.

Arinella spoke briefly on how important the ceremony is each year. “It’s the most important hour I can spend every year.”

The sentiment was no doubt what Rowan expected. “Make a promise to yourself you will be here to recognize your fellows’s sacrifice. Heaven and earth today watch us as we gather.”

You can bet that Fran Rowan was up there watching her friends talk sacrifice and resilience at Piers Park on this cloudy but significant day.

22 anniversary of 911 EB
Collage by Frank Conte for EastBoston.com
Collage by Frank Conte for EastBoston.com
Collage by Frank Conte for EastBoston.com