The Logan Airport 9/11 Memorial at Logan International Airport is dedicated to the passengers and crew of American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175. Both planes departed Boston from Logan Airport on September 11, 2001 and were hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center in New York City. While dedicated to those who perished in the tragedy, it was also built to recognize the work of all Logan Airport employees in keeping the airport and the skies safe. It offers a place to reflect, remember, and comfort members of the Logan Airport community who lost friends, colleagues, and family in the September 11 attacks.
The memorial takes the shape of a glass cube, with the victims' names inscribed inside.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, about fifteen minutes after takeoff, American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston to Los Angeles was hijacked by five members of terrorist group al-Qaeda and taken off course, where it was ultimately flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing all 92 people on board, including the hijackers. Minutes before Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower, United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston to Los Angeles was also hijacked as a part of a coordinated attack. It was set on a collision course with the South Tower of the World Trade Center, where, upon impact, all 65 people on board were killed.
Before collision, crew members of both flights made efforts to impede the hijackings and prevent the crashes. On Flight 11, flight attendants Madeline Amy Sweeney and Betty Ong reported information during the hijacking to workers on the ground, including the seat numbers of the hijackers which lead to their identification. The information they provided was critical in creating a timeline of the events of the attacks.
That morning four planes were hijacked in total, two from Logan Airport, one from Newark International Airport (now called Newark Liberty International Airport as a tribute to the victims of the September 11 attacks), and one from Washington Dulles International Airport. Of these four hijackings, three reached their targets. Flight 11 and Flight 175 were flown into the twin towers and American Airlines Flight 77 from Washington Dulles International Airport was flown into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia. The fourth, United Flight 93 crashed into an empty field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania when the passengers attempted to regain control of the plane.
September 11 was a day of national tragedy and in reaction many Americans sought to memorialize those who died. Soon after the attack, people created impromptu memorials and shrines to those who had died, and people all over the country chose to show their respects by flying American flags. At Logan Airport, employees spontaneously raised American flags over American Airlines Gate B32 and United Airlines Gate C19, the respective gates which the Flight 11 and Flight 175 departed from (the flags are still flying today).
In short time, planning for more permanent memorials began. Soon the Airport 9/11 Memorial Design Advisory Committee was founded and worked together with the Massachusetts Port Authority, Logan Airport, and the families of 9/11 victims to decide what the purpose and meaning of the memorial should be. At Logan Airport in Boston, MA a two-acre plot was allocated for the construction of a memorial, part of which was donated by The Logan Hilton Hotel across the street, which had housed the Massachusetts Port Authority’s Logan Family Assistance Center, who provided for families of 9/11 victims in the aftermath of the attacks. The Advisory Committee began to solicit designs in 2003. The winning design was by Moskow Architects, a firm located in Boston and was unveiled in 2006.
The main feature of the design is a glass cube structure, which can be entered. Inside are lists of the passengers and crew of both Flight 11 and Flight 175, accompanied by their departure times. From the ceiling of the cube hang more pieces of glass which fracture the light. The cube sits at the junction of two winding paths amidst simple landscaping and at the path’s exit is an inscription in the ground reading:
Remember this day.
This Memorial is intended as a place of reflection
for all those who were forever changed by the events of
September 11, 2001
The monument is perhaps most noticeable at night, when it is lit from the inside out, like a beacon of light in a time of darkness.
Construction of the memorial began in the summer of 2007, and upon completion a dedication ceremony was held on September 9, 2008. The ceremony included remarks by members of the Advisory Committee and members of the Massachusetts Port Authority Board of Directors, as well as Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. At the monument’s opening, the memorial was established not only as a place for reflection and healing but also for education. It is proposed that the memorial’s location in a tranquil park within a hectic airport could provide comfort and reassurance to those who need it. Before the grand opening for the memorial, the families of 9/11 victims were allowed to roam around the park and main structure before it was open to the general public.