Edmonds woman chosen for solemn duty at ground zero

Patricia Mackey grieves for one person out of thousands. Since that staggering day, Sept. 11, 2001, the Edmonds woman has missed her cousin.

Tuesday, at the stately memorial that arose from the cauldron of ground zero, Mackey will publicly proclaim her cousin’s name — Dennis Buckley. She was selected from among thousands of family members to recite the names of victims of the 9/11 attacks. Along with Buckley’s name, she will read the names of 12 others.

“All these years, I’ve been mourning Dennis. He’s been our focus,” she said. “Now I’ll get to know about 12 other families, 12 more people. I don’t know any of them.”

A bond broker and partner with the financial firm Cantor Fitzgerald, Buckley, 38, worked on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower when a plane flew into the building. It wasn’t until nearly a week after the attacks that some of his remains and possessions were found.

Mackey’s family came from the Rockaway area of Queens, on New York’s Long Island. She has wonderful memories of Buckley, who was two years younger than she. He became a lacrosse star at the University of Maryland. His widow and three teenage daughters live in Chatham, N.J.

Mackey, 51, will represent her cousin’s family this morning at the National September 11 Memorial &Museum in New York City. She is among 200 relatives of Sept. 11 victims chosen this year to read the names of those lost.

“Readers are chosen through a lottery,” said Evelyn Erskine, a deputy press secretary in the office of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Family members interested in reading names are invited by the memorial organization to apply, Erskine said.

Mackey said her selection was both an honor and a surprise.

“Last year when the memorial opened at ground zero, family members were able to go online and register,” she said. Victims’ families are offered special reservations and help planning a visit.

Mackey said her family considered a visit earlier this summer, but postponed it. She had registered on the memorial website.

“In late July, I got a letter that they had selected me as a potential reader. It was a lottery. Would I be interested? I jumped on it,” she said.

A few weeks later, she learned she had been picked. This morning’s somber ceremony will include the reading of almost 3,000 names. Bells will toll to commemorate the moments of the attacks and when the buildings fell.

In July, according to The Associated Press, Bloomberg announced that political leaders will not be giving speeches this year. The mayor is chairman of the memorial’s board.

“It’s scaled back, very low-key,” Mackey said.

A packet she received from Bloomberg’s office contained schedule information — “I have to be there at 7 a.m. New York time” — and a recording to help her pronounce names.

Most of the 12 people she’ll name were of Italian ancestry, and all had last names beginning with M. “I listened to the recording, and that nearly brought me to tears,” she said.

In reading the names, she’ll alternate with a woman whose sister died in the attacks. “We’ll go back and forth with the names. For the last one, I’ll say ‘and my cousin Dennis Buckley.’ They allow us to say a few words as well,” Mackey said.

Before catching a red-eye flight to New York with her husband, John, on Saturday, she hadn’t decided what she would say about her cousin, nor did she reveal the names she will read.

With a “Never Forget” license-plate holder on her car, Mackey calls herself a crusader. She hopes others will always keep in their minds and hearts the innocent people lost on Sept. 11, 2001.

She worries that the economy has pushed 9/11 into the background. “I just don’t think it’s been thought of like it was in the years right after the attacks,” she said. “At each anniversary, I think of Pearl Harbor. If it weren’t for the elderly, we would not remember the attack on Pearl Harbor.”

She is pleased that in her city, nearly 3,000 miles from ground zero, Snohomish County Fire District 1 is raising money to build an Edmonds 9/11 Memorial.

A steel beam recovered from the World Trade Center will be the project’s focal point. The beam will be on display at a ceremony at 9:11 a.m. Tuesday at the Edmonds Fallen Firefighter Memorial at Sixth Avenue and Sprague Street, outside Fire Station 17.

Mackey has seen the steel artifact, which arrived in Edmonds last year with an escort of police officers and firefighters. “It keeps the memory alive,” she said.

“Dennis isn’t here. His death was so tragic,” Mackey said. “For him and all the others, we can’t as a nation ever forget.”

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460, muhlstein@heraldnet.com.

Local 9/11 remembrance events


A Freedom Walk is planned for Saturday in honor of the 9/11 victims. Registration begins at 8 a.m. at Legion Park, 114 N. Olympic Ave., or register online.

Opening ceremony is at 9 a.m. with the 5k walk on the Centennial Trail to follow. Activities at Legion Park will continue through the day with music, a patriotic dog costume contest at 2 p.m., face painting and activities for children. Free T-shirts for first 200 to register. Registration cost is $7. www.operationhomefront.net/washington/highlights.aspx?id=20726


Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling and Debbie Dawson, an Edmonds police animal control officer, plan to play “Taps” at Fifth Avenue and Main Street at 7:03 a.m. today in remembrance of those killed in the attacks.

September 11th Memorial Taps is a nationwide effort of Bugles Across America to coordinate the performance of “Taps” at the exact time of each of the four attacks.

The performance at 7:03 a.m. is intended to coincide with the same moment at 10:03 a.m. Eastern time that United Airlines Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville, Pa.

A one-ton steel beam, recovered from the World Trade Center, will be on display at a ceremony at 9:11 a.m. today at the Edmonds Fallen Firefighter Memorial at Sixth Avenue and Sprague Street, outside Fire Station 17. The artifact will be the focal point of an Edmonds 9/11 Memorial. Snohomish County Fire District 1 is raising money to build the memorial.

Information: www.edmonds911memorial.org.


A free memorial concert by the Music Hall Orchestra is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Music Hall, in the hallway behind Macy’s at Everett Mall. In addition to patriotic selections, the concert will include selections from “Star Wars” and the Harry Potter movies, and symphony themes. The orchestra is under the direction of Dan Taylor. Proceeds will benefit the Everett Firefighter’s Association.

Snohomish County Firefighters Pipes and Dreams plans to perform at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Shawn O’Donnell’s, 122 128th St. SE, Everett, to remember Sept. 11 victims. A special edition of trivia night is planned. The event is expected to raise money for the Firefighter Cancer Support Network. Information: www.snocopipes.com; www.shawnodonnells.com; or www.fcsn.net.


A 9/11 remembrance ceremony is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Police and Firefighters’ Memorial in front of the Marysville Library.

The annual ceremony, hosted by the Marysville Fire District, will include an invocation by Greg Kanehen, pastor of the Marysville Free Methodist Church. The Marysville Library is located at 6120 Grove St. For information, call the Marysville Fire District, 360-363-8500.

Mountlake Terrace

A volunteer park cleanup day is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday at Terrace Ridge Park, 4600 242nd St. SW to coincide with the national Day of Service in remembrance of Sept. 11.

The Day of Service encourages residents to volunteer during the week of Sept. 11. Volunteers, with gardening gloves and tools, should meet at 9 a.m. Saturday at Terrace Ridge Park, 4600 242nd St. SW. Groups should register with parks and facilities superintendent Ken Courtmanch. For more information, call Courtmanch at 425-776-1811 or go to www.cityofmlt.com.


Chaplains with Snohomish County Fire District 4 plan at 7 a.m. Tuesday to hold a short ceremony at headquarters, Station 43, 1525 Avenue D, Snohomish. It will include a flag lowering, playing of “Taps” and a prayer. The public is welcome.

South Snohomish County

Firefighters at Fire District 1 stations plan to gather at the flag pole at 6:55 a.m. Tuesday to observe a minute of silence at 6:58 a.m. Dispatchers will broadcast a memorial tone and announcement at 6:59 a.m., the time of the collapse of the World Trade Center South Tower, to conclude the brief ceremony. The remembrance will honor the 343 firefighters and paramedics killed in the World Trade Center attacks.

Participating stations are: Brier Fire Station 18, 21206 Poplar Way, Brier; Edmonds Fire Station 16, 8429 196th St. SW, Edmonds; Edmonds Fire Station 20, 23009, 88th Ave. W, Edmonds; 156th Street Fire Station 10, 3922 156th St. SW, Lynnwood; Hilltop Fire Station 22, 20510 Damson Rd., Lynnwood; Hilton Lake Fire Station 12, 3525 108th St. SE, Everett; Lake Serene Fire Station 23, 4323 Serene Way, Lynnwood; Mariner Fire Station 11, 12310 Meridian Ave., Everett; Martha Lake Fire Station 21, 16819 13th Ave. W, Lynnwood; Mountlake Terrace Fire Station 19, 5902 232nd St. SW, Mountlake Terrace; Silver Firs Fire Station 13, 13611 Puget Park Drive, Everett.

Ceremonies may be delayed or canceled if firefighters are responding to emergency calls.

Live webcast

The National September 11 Memorial &Museum will show a live webcast of Tuesday New York City ceremony marking the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Patricia Mackey, of Edmonds, will be among those reading victims’ names. The webcast begins at 5:30 a.m. PDT. Go online to: www.911memorial.org/watch-11th-anniversary-ceremony-live-webcast

Other 911 resources

National 911 Memorial

Flight 93 National Memorial

The Pentagon Memorial

National Day of Service and Rememberance

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