Sept. 11 sharpens a sadness that is never far, she said. 09/11/2012

By Peter Schworm, Globe Staff
Diane Hunt, a Kingston resident whose son William was killed at the World Trade Center, said she recoils at the images of the planes crashing into the towers, and prays she does not see them. But last year, no matter how hard she tried to avoid them, they were there.

“As soon as something comes on about that day, the TV goes off,” she said.

Still, whether a milestone anniversary or not, Sept. 11 sharpens a sadness that is never far, she said.

Hunt recalled her son as a kind, loving man, and said the pain of his absence runs deep. His daughter, now 12, has bright red hair like her dad’s. Recently, she has been asking more about him, Hunt said, about the kind of person he was and what he liked to do. After every story, she asks for another.

“It breaks your heart,” Hunt said. Eleven years ago, on a Tuesday morning just like this, thousands of people got up, prepared for a day that was not expected to be anything out of the ordinary, and left for their jobs or travel. They said goodbye to their families without any sense of the finality of that act. They went to work in New York City and Washington DC, or boarded planes for the West Coast, and never came home.

What unfolded was a day of horror and disbelief, leavened with tales of heartbreaking courage. Hundreds of firefighters and police in New York City charged the gates of Hell to rescue people trapped in the World Trade Center and ended up sharing their fate. One planeful of passengers, forearmed with the knowledge of their captors’ plans, fought the first battle in the war against al-Qaeda and defeated them at Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Eleven years later, and again on a Tuesday, I expect the original Patriot Day to feel more distant. Instead, the scenes remain as fresh in my mind as ever. This composite of news coverage of the attack on the south tower of the World Trade Center recalls all of the emotions of the early morning.

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