West Springfield, Mass. (WWLP) – September 11th, 2001. It’s a day engrained in the hearts and souls of all Americans, but especially so for those who lost loved ones.
The town of West Springfield held a remembrance ceremony Sunday morning at the Town Common, for the nearly 3,000 Americans killed on September 11th. The ceremony paid particular homage to West-Springfield resident, Melissa Harrington-Hughes.
In attendance was Bob Harrington, Melissa’s father. He told 22news, “I always think about her. She’s buried in St. Thomas cemetery which is about a mile and a half from here. I go visit her four or five times a week. She was my oldest.”
For Bob Harrington, each anniversary of 9/11 is a painful memory of what he lost. But with events like these, his daughter’s memory lives on.
“I want them always to remember the people who were killed there and especially my daughter,” said Harrington.
22news spoke with a Longmeadow couple at the ceremony who do, in fact, especially remember Melissa year after year, though they never knew her personally.
Noreen DiPerri Tolosky recalled, “My son, when he was nine during 9/11, a few weeks later was the Big E and he brought home a candle and it happened to be Melissa Harrington-Hughes. But unbeknownst to him and my family, I had picked her out of the newspaper that was running the thousands of pictures of people during 9/11 and her face just struck me.”
She added, “and when he brought the candle home it just happened to be her, so every year for the last 21 years, we’ve been lighting her candle and thinking of her.”
A heartwarming moment as they finally met Melissa’s father, who was grateful to learn Melissa was touching lives even beyond her passing.