BOSTON -- Lee and Eunice Hanson were stunned to learn that a total stranger wrote "Christine's Lullaby" for their granddaughter, the youngest victim of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Peg Ogonowski loses sleep worrying about sending thank-you cards to the thousands of people who reached out to her family after her husband John, pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, was killed with nearly 3,000 others two years ago.
Their loved ones were remembered Thursday, the second anniversary of the attacks, as Massachusetts joined the rest of the nation in marking a generation-defining moment.
Trains paused, flags were lowered and heroes were honored.
"Two years ago, our loved ones took wings to glory. Now, they will be remembered with the patriots and the heroes of this great city," Lee Hanson, 70, said in a ceremony at Boston's Public Garden, where officials broke ground on a monument that will feature the names of all 197 Massachusetts victims.
Hanson's son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter were all killed in the Sept. 11 attacks. Through the tragedy, he said, they've found comfort from all corners.
"Christine's Lullaby" was composed two years ago by Carl Schroeder, 21, a music student at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. It's named for Christine Lee Hanson, who was 21/2 years old when she boarded United Airlines Flight 175 bound for Disneyland with parents Peter and Sue, all of Groton.
"We have felt the love and kindness of so many people from all over the world," Hanson said. "We're here today, testimony to those who loved us, and testimony to the abiding love of this city, nation and world."
Later, a string quintet played the lullaby during a Statehouse ceremony to present civilian bravery awards named after Madeline Amy Sweeney, a Flight 11 attendant. Sweeney, of Acton, had contacted ground crews to provide information on the hijackers before the plane crashed into the World Trade Center.
At Logan Airport, where Flights 11 and 175 originated, United Airlines employees gathered for a moment of silence, some weeping as they remembered loved ones. Logan also held a memorial service to honor the 156 passengers and crew members aboard the doomed flights.
The MBTA halted train service for a moment of silence.
At Fenway Park, a line stretched down the block at midmorning for a blood drive held to commemorate the anniversary of the attacks. Harry Anderson, 65, was at the head of line. He moved to Quincy after retiring from his job at the World Trade Center before the attack.
"Those (who died) were my friends, people I knew," he said.
In Fall River, the Massachusetts victims were remembered during a short ceremony aboard the USS Massachusetts at Battleship Cove. The ceremony included a 21-gun salute at 8:46 a.m., the time the first airplane hit the World Trade Center.
At the same time, Holyoke High School students paused for a moment of silence and then recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Minutes later, the school choir clustered in the principal's office to sing the Star Spangled Banner over the public address system.
At the Statehouse, Gov. Mitt Romney and Jim Ogonowski, brother of John, lowered the U.S. flag to half-staff.
Ogonowski didn't mention his brother by name.
"I mention no individual names because there are 3,000 names. There are millions of untold stories," he said. "Reflect on the life of someone who was lost that day, and honor them. Reflect on the loss to those families, the changes to our communities. We must find the inner strength and courage to live our own lives in a way which they would have wanted."
Peg Ogonowski, speaking at the Public Garden, said creating a permanent memorial is an "important next step" in the grieving process. The three-foot half-circle granite monument bearing the names of Massachusetts victims is scheduled to be constructed by next summer.
"The memorial in the Public Garden will do more than merely remind us," she said. "It fills a void for all persons by creating a physical anchor to the emotions connected to this tragedy."
Hanson noted that he and his wife grew up a short walk from the Public Garden. The place they spent their youth "holding hands, sneaking a kiss," Lee Hanson said, is now where members of their family will be remembered.
The outpouring of support they've received have convinced them that Osama bin Laden won't beat them.
"He and his terrorists cannot stand against resilient, loving, and united people. Terrorists attack symbols of civilizations and kill thousands of innocents, even little children, to make us fear them. They have failed." (AP)