Members of Project 351 and the Mass 9/11 Fund planted 2,997 miniature flags in Boston Public Garden Wednesday night, representing the total death toll of those killed in New York City, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, two decades ago. A special section of the garden was dedicated to the 205 Massachusetts residents who lost their lives in the attacks.
By Thursday morning, dozens of flags had been either bent, snapped or lying across the sidewalk and signs describing the significance of the memorial had been stolen. Trash cans were also knocked over, WBZ reported.
“It’s certainly heartbreaking. I’m thinking of the families. This is a very hard week for them,” said Carolyn Casey, founder of nonprofit Project 351, told the Boston Herald. “There were scores of flags down for sure. Some were all the way down, some were tilted or bent.”
Boston police officers responded to the memorial site around 8 a.m. Thursday and are now investigating the incident of vandalism. Organizers of the memorial have re-erected the flags and are coordinating with the Parks Department to ensure the flags are undisturbed until Sunday.
“I just don’t understand, honestly, what would motivate somebody to do something like this,” Casey added in an interview with WBZ.
“I’m also thinking of the military families whose loved ones responded,” she added to the Herald. “By the time I got there, there were already volunteers who wanted to be part of recreating the garden – people who had no connection to it. They just wanted to make the garden whole again. I’m just focusing on that spirit of unity.”
Compared to the memorial at Boston Public Gardens, Boston Logan International Airport’s atmospheric is rarely visited despite its significant tie to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Five terrorists smuggled box cutters aboard American Flight 11 before it took off from Logan nonstop to Los Angeles on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. Another five hijackers did the same on United Airlines Flight 175 before it also left Boston nonstop to Los Angeles. Both aircrafts were Boeing 767s.
At 8:46 a.m. that day, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center between the 94th and 99th floors. Then at 9:03 a.m., United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower between the 78th and 84th floors. 2,753 people at ground zero were killed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.