While the nation was forever changed by the events of Sept.11, 2001, comparably few know personally the feeling of having lost someone they had known in the terrorist attacks of that day.
In 1996, Linda George had graduated from Providence College. After college, she landed a good job with T.J. Maxx, her friend and fellow P.C. alum Mike Manning remembers. On Sept. 11, George was headed from Boston to the West Coast on a business trip, a trip cut short when terrorists targeted New York’s World Trade Center with the aircraft she was flying on, killing everyone on board. In all, nearly 3,000 people would die that day in New York City, at the Pentagon, as well as in a desolate field in Shanksville, Pa.
“She was a great friend of mine,” said Manning, who graduated from P.C. in 1997 and then joined the army.
Maj. Manning, who serves as the legislative liaison for the Rhode land National Guard, has joined several of his colleagues from the armed forces in working with the Diocese of Providence to plan a Mass to mark the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
“This is a day for us to take pause, to take a knee and remember those who were lost,” Manning said.
“We’ve been at war for 10 years now. It’s important to mark this significant event.”
The Mass of Remembrance and Blessing will be held on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 1 p.m. at the Cathedral of SS. Peter & Paul in Providence. All are invited to attend.
Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin will preside over the Mass, while Chaplain Col. Father Robert L. Marciano, state command chaplain of the Rhode Island National Guard, will serve as the homilist.
Father Marciano was one of several chaplains who suited up and waded through the wreckage from the Pentagon attack to offer prayers for the dead as the remains of the 184 victims there were recovered.
“At the end of the Mass, there will be a roll call of heroes read,” said Fr. Marciano, noting one of the most poignant moments planned around the service.
The Mass is being said for all citizens and members of the police, fire and military and their families. Personnel from these groups are requested to wear their uniforms for the Mass. Representatives of different branches of the military will present the colors at the beginning of Mass.
“The Mass promises to be a very beautiful and prayerful event for our whole church community,” said Bishop Tobin.
Reverend clergy of the diocese are invited to concelebrate.
The Gregorian Concert Choir, led by the Rev. Msgr. Anthony Mancini, director, and the 88th Army Band and Brass Ensemble, led by CWO Todd Garrepy, director, will also perform.
In addition to members of the police and fire and military personnel, special guests will also include Gold Star families—those who have lost a loved one in military service to their country from the buildup of the Iraq War following 09/11 through the present.
“I think the message is shared sacrifice,” said Lt. Col. Denis J. Riel, of the Rhode Island National Guard.
Dick August and his wife Donna will present the gifts during the offertory procession.
Their son Matthew was killed on January 27, 2004 in Khalidiyah, Iraq, three weeks short of his 30th birthday.
Matthew August, a Bishop Hendricken alum, went on to graduate from West Point in 1997.
Following 9/11, those in the military knew the path to battle against a new enemy of America would at one point take them through the world’s oldest crossroads along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, according to Dick August, and his son was prepared to take on that fight.
August, the commanding officer of his army unit, was leading a mission to root out an enemy weapons cache when their unit was hit by an improvised explosive device.
“My son’s wishes were to be buried at West Point,” Dick August said, adding that Matthew’s wish had been fulfilled.
As a Gold Star family, the Augusts work to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, they will join with others to share in the pain of their losses as well.
In all, at least eight people with ties to Rhode Island lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks, including Hollywood television producer David Angell, 55—brother of Bishop Kenneth A. Angell—and David’s wife Lynn Edwards Angell, 52; Carol Bouchard, 43; Renee Newell, 37; Mark L. Charette, 38; Amy Jarret, 28; Kathryn Yancey LaBorie, 44; and Shawn Nassaney, 25, and his girlfriend, Lynn Goodchild, 25.
Printed with permission from Rhode Island Catholic, newspaper for the Diocese of Providence, R.I.