PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) — It took nearly two decades.
After the State House 9/11 memorial was first unveiled in 2002 – one year after the terrorist attacks – family members of several local victims thought a key element was missing.
Richard DelleFemine, the brother of Warwick victim Carol Bouchard, said they were shocked the local victims’ names were not etched in the granite base.
“It was very hurtful because we want our families and loved ones remembered,” DelleFemine said.
His 43-year-old sister was a passenger on American Airlines Flight 11, which was hijacked about 15 minutes after taking off from Logan Airport.
Peter Diepenbrock, the memorial’s creator, told Eyewitness News three years ago that the quick turnaround for planning and building the piece played a role in not etching the names on the granite.
Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) Executive Director Randall Rosenbaum recalled that there were concerns at the time about identifying all of the local victims and how to define a Rhode Islander.
Now, 17 years since the monument was unveiled, there will finally be a plaque with nine local victims’ names on it. For now, the plaque is hidden by a black cloth, which will be removed during a ceremony Wednesday morning.
The change is the result of a 2018 law directing the Department of Administration (DOA), “to add the names of Rhode Island residents who were killed in the terrorist attacks.”
“I was happy it was finally happening after all these years,” DelleFemine said. “It never should’ve taken this long. As you know it’s been four administrations.”
Even though his sister is being remembered, he is still asking why one victim with local ties was left off the plaque.
The name of Pawtucket’s Shawn Nassaney is on the plaque, but the name of his fiance Lynn Goodchild – who’s from Attleboro and attended Bryant University – is not.
“She was as much a part of the Nassaneys and Rhode Island and any part of this tragedy,” DelleFemine said. “I wish there was a way to fix that and put her name on the memorial.”
Goodchild’s mother tells Eyewitness News, “It would’ve been nice” for her daughter to be honored on the memorial, but she understands the decision to leave the Attleboro native off the plaque.
DelleFemine said he does see the many positives of the plaque and appreciates the ends of a long wait for the local loved ones left behind after the 2001 attacks.
He said as the nation remembers what happened during numerous ceremonies Wednesday, his family will think of who they lost every single day.
“Oh God, yes,” DelleFemine said. “There’s always something that reminds me of her. We can never forget this and we have to remember what it has done for us as a country.”
DOA spokesperson Brenna McCabe said the law was written to include victims born in Rhode Island and Rhode Island residents on the plaque.
“We recognize there were others who had ties to Rhode Island in one way or another and died on September 11th,” McCabe said. “They will be in our thoughts during [Wednesday’s] ceremony.”
The new plaque will be unveiled Wednesday morning in the bell area on the Providence Place side of the State House.