Eleven years ago, on a cloudless day much like today, Anna Sweeney's father told her that "mommy's plane was taken by bad guys and a lot of people went to heaven."
Anna's mother, Amy Sweeney of Acton, had been a flight attendant on Flight 11, the first plane to fly into the towers. She was one of 207 people from Massachusetts to die from the attacks. Anna, now a teenager, joined other families of victims Tuesday morning to honor the memory of those killed.
"It's hard to believe that that terrible trajedy was 11 years ago," Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo told the crowd inside the House chambers, where they were assembled for the presentation of the Madeline "Amy" Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery. "We think of Amy Sweeney, who stood up to what was unthinkable horror, to save lives," he said.
Sweeney had called a flight control center to tell them that Flight 11 had been hijacked.
Earlier in the day, Mayor Thomas Menino joined family members in the Public Garden to lay a wreath at the 9/11 memorial. Shortly after, Gov. Deval Patrick presided over the reading of the names of the dead on the steps of the State House.
Bill Coombs of the South End attended the commemoration at the Public Garden memorial. Coombs lost his brother Jeff in the attacks.
The Sweeney award was given to Paul Antonino of Wakefield, who rushed into a burning building on Chelsea Street in April to alert residents of the fire.