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Joseph DiSabato
Joseph Gerry
Edward Morad
Earnest Wilkins
Barbara Abbott
Brendan Fitzgerald
Joseph DiSabato
Joseph Gerry
Edward Morad
Earnest Wilkins
Barbara Abbott
Brendan Fitzgerald
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We Remember
 
Honored Dead: Victims of 9/11
 
Moments of remembrance on the South Shore and beyond
 
Stories of survival, heroics
 
Taunton man remembers the last day with his wife
 
Have things changed?
 
How attacks affected kids, and how are they now
 
Nationally
 
Brockton native decided how much to give 9/11 families
 
Graphic: Sequence of 9/11 events
Audio interviews and editing for this series were conducted by Cory Hopkins, Diana Schoberg, Ryan Menard, John Kelly, Andrew Lightman and Ken Johnson from The Patriot Ledger, and by Jean Porrazzo, Elaine Allegrini and Craig Murray from The Enterprise.
Site Design: Stephen Ide

 

Impact on kids not as great

A psychology professor
at Bridgewater State College
says that for many youths,
the attacks are a history event

ENTERPRISE STAFF WRITER

Ben Litwack of Stoughton was just 3 at the time, but he knows where he was on Sept. 10, 2001 - and what happened a day later. “The bad guys, they flew planes into the twin towers,” said Litwack, now 8. “I was there the day before them.”

Amy Litwack, Ben’s mom, said the family had gone to the World Trade Center during a visit to New York City and they traveled half way up one of the twin towers the day before the terrorist attacks.

Five years later, Ben Litwack says he reads books about 9/11, though they make him feel sad. And he has plans to do his part to defend his country.

“I want to be an Army guy so that it doesn’t happen again,” Ben said.

Ben may be more aware of the attacks than many youngsters because of the visit to New York City and because of his family’s interest in and discussions about that momentous day in United States history.

But he may be an exception, said Elizabeth Englander, a psychology professor at Bridgewater State College.

MARC VASCONCELLOS/THE ENTERPRISE
Ben Litwack, 8, of Stoughton, visited the World Trade Center on Sept. 10, 2001, the day before the terrorist attacks. Standing with Ben is his five-year-old sister, Sarah.
Hear what Ben had to say:
Click to listen

“For most children today, it’s a history event,” said Englander. “For kids, that’s a natural perspective.”

Some children remember where they were when the planes hit the twin towers, when they first saw the images of the attacks, and the sadness and anxiety that followed. But other emotions have largely faded - their recollection of their parents’ anxiety and the fear that gripped the nation then, parents and experts say.

Resilience to traumatic events varies with age and situation and is unique for each child, according to a report of the New York University Children’s Study Center.

“Reactions related to the five-year anniversary of 9/11 will vary across children, adolescents and adults,” the NYU center said in a guide for parents preparing for the 9/11 anniversary.

For some, the attacks are a distant memory.

“Even high school students and adults have a tendency to put tragedies out of their mind,” said Col. David Gavigan, retired adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard, a public school teacher and administrator for 20 years and now a consultant on homeland security.

“We try to think of good things,” he said.

But many of today’s teenagers do have vivid memories of Sept. 11, 2001.

George Lithgrow, 14, of Brockton, recalled a principal walking into his classroom after the attacks and, amid tears, talking about terrorists.

“I didn’t know what she was talking about,” Lithgrow said.

He got details when he arrived home after school and has since learned the meaning of terrorism and terrorists. Now, he is eager to see the movie, “World Trade Center,” depicting the attacks.

“I think about how it might happen again,” he said.

Xavier Velez, 13, also of Brockton, remembered the fear that caused his mother to have him dismissed from school.

“It was horrible,” said Velez, who is beginning to think about military service after high school.

Alyssa Bell, 16, of Taunton, said she and her mother went to LaSalette Shrine in Attleboro to light candles for the victims. Amid the sadness, she said she was thankful that a friend’s father had, for some reason, gotten off one the planes that eventually crashed.

“The plane left without him,” she said.

For adults, though, the memories may be more profound.

Sandra Sapienza of Stoughton - mother of seven, grandmother of 14 and foster mother to 37 children- said 9/11 was traumatic for her children and grandchildren five years ago. “They were uplifted from their security,” she said.

But the sadness and fear lingered more for Sapienza, whose mind goes back to the attacks whenever she sees the numbers 9/11 or happens upon firefighters racing to an emergency.

“The safety level returns faster to youth,” said Sapienza.

Jaclyn DelPrete of Rockland, now 16, was 11 at the time and she and her sister Suzanne, now 13, did something to help.

“We made flag pins out of beads and safety pins,” she recalled. “We sold them in front of our house to raise money for the Red Cross.”

The girls raised more than $$500. “It made us feel we were doing a big part to help,” DelPrete said Friday.

At the time, she delivered Enterprise newspapers and was moved by the photographs of 9/11 on Page 1. But, in the years that followed, DelPrete said, “Life has not changed that much. It’s good to remember.”

Elaine Allegrini can be reached at eallegrini@enterprisenews.com.

J. KIELY JR./THE ENTERPRISE
Marie Raymond, 18, of Raynham, leans against the siding of what has become known as the “flag house” since she painted the front of her parent’s home red, white and blue in the days following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

This young lady wears her patriotism on her house

Marie Raymond couldn’t find a flag to buy in stores the week after Sept. 11, 2001 - so she and her family decided to paint one right onto their house.

ENTERPRISE STAFF WRITER

RAYNHAM - Marie Raymond couldn’t find a flag to buy in stores the week after Sept. 11, 2001 - so she and her family decided to paint one right onto their house on Broadway, also Route 138.

“I wanted to be supportive, to show that I was an American,” said Raymond, 18, who was in eighth grade at the time of the terrorist attacks. “I was so young, they wouldn’t let me give blood. They wouldn’t let me do anything.”

Raymond, her mother, Lisa, and her four siblings each grabbed a paintbrush to wash their wooden ranch home in red, white and blue stripes and 50 white stars.

Five years later, the home is still a colorful “flag house.”

But in 2002, after the war in Afghanistan had begun, the stars were removed - one by one - from the home’s exterior.

“For every soldier that had died, we did not put another star,” Raymond said. “We erased one.”

Her childhood friend, Christopher Bergeron, 21, of Raynham, is now serving as a U.S. Marine in Iraq, she said.

“He’s been there three weeks, and it’s hard,” said Raymond, a student at Massasoit Community College who plans to become a special needs teacher. “It definitely hits a lot closer to home and it makes that flag just that much more important.”

Raymond said she also painted the flag to honor her two uncles who are veterans: Eric Clarke, 37, of Brockton, who served as a U.S. Marine in Operation Desert Storm, and Richard Hunt, 40, of Brockton, a U.S. Army veteran.

The home’s interior is also decorated in patriotic fashion.

The living room boasts red, white and blue walls and houses a bald eagle, the Stars and Stripes, and a coffee table with red, white and blue stained glass. The Pledge of Allegiance is stenciled on a border near the ceiling.

“It just signifies unity, sticking together, trying to make something positive out of a bad thing,” said Lisa Raymond, 41, Marie’s mother, of her patriotic home. “We want to let the people who are fighting for us know that we’re behind them.”

The family said the patriotic paint will remain until the war in Iraq is over.

During Operation Desert Storm, the Raymonds placed a 45 foot Christmas tree in their front yard. The tree was decorated with yellow ribbons - one for each soldier in combat.

“It was totally covered in yellow ribbons,” Lisa Raymond said. “It was unbelievable.”

Maria Papadopoulos can be reached at mpapadopoulos@enterprisenews.com.