Historical Society to hold exhibit, vigil in memory of 9/11


Kristen Su

Choudhry and Greene pose with newly-folded paper cranes. The exhibit will be open tomorrow, Sept. 11, for viewing. The public is welcome to make their own paper cranes to hang up in the Museum. They will then be transferred to the Town Common for the Candlelight Remembrance in the evening.

Kristen Su, Co-Managing Editor

To remember the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, the Westford Historical Society has opened a Westford Museum exhibit honoring the lives lost and recounting the events of that day in history.

A personal project of Museum Director Linda Greene, she felt that it was important to remind people about their history.

“History […] has a large effect on our lives. […] Having this kind of event happen on U.S. soil was pretty devastating to a lot of people. […] And it seems funny almost that here we are looking at an event from just 20 years ago, but it is a big part of our history, and it’s the responsibility of the Historical Society to share,” Greene said.

The exhibit is primarily comprised of newspaper articles from both local and national news sources, documenting both a timeline of events and the local response.

Westford residents James Hayden and Susan Mackay, who are among the 2,977 that lost their lives on 9/11, are honored with personal remembrances told by their families.

Hayden and Mackay’s legacies are accompanied by a detailed breakdown of events, including a timeline provided by the 9/11 Museum in New York and a feature on Boston residents’ reactions to the aftermath.

Museum-acquired artifacts also add another layer of realness to the displays. A cobblestone from the Twin Towers is set on the table, donated by Westford native T.J. Kane, who was called onto the scene as a first responder.

More striking, however, is how the exhibit pieces together Westford’s 9/11 memorial.

A letter, sent by Westford Remembers Committee member Patti Mason, documents the journey of a World Trade Center beam from New York to Westford. The mold that Westford artist and firefighter David P. Christiana used to do a relief sculpture of the World Trade Towers sits next to a video explanation of Christiana’s artistic process. These two elements come together in photos of the memorial, which in reality sits in close proximity to the Museum.

The final part of the exhibit lines the top of the display boards: multi-colored paper cranes, made by residents of Westford.

In the aftermath of 9/11, children left origami paper cranes outside the Manhattan fire station as a symbol of community healing. The Westford Museum has decided to adopt the gesture in an effort to make the exhibit more interactive, intending to educate younger children.

“It’s a devastating event, but it’s […] also important to understand without scaring anyone. It’s like they [the younger generation] kind of have to face the reality of what happens. And I guess it’s easier to do it while holding something in your hands and making something to remember all the people […] that we’ve lost,” Museum Club President and sophomore Saniya Choudhry said.

The Historical Society has also partnered with Westford Remembers to host a Candlelight Remembrance on the Town Common from 7-8 p.m. tomorrow, Sept. 11. This will be the first vigil in Westford since the one held on Sept. 14, 2001, three days after the attacks.

“Two decades after the event, we want to review how everyone memorialized everything and bring it back to life again,” Choudhry said.

The Museum will be open 11 a.m-5 p.m. tomorrow, Sept. 11 and 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 12 for the general public.

There will also be the annual 9/11 Remembrance Event tomorrow, Sept. 11 hosted by Westford Remembers, starting at 9:55 a.m. in the Public Safety Courtyard next to the 9/11 memorial.