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Ceremony Celebrates Life of Newton 9/11 Victim

Paige Farley-Hackel, a Newton resident and board member of the Salvation Army, was killed on board American Airlines Flight 11.

Ten years after she was killed on board American Airlines Flight 11, the life of Newton resident Paige Farley-Hackel was celebrated in Dorchester last week.

Family, friends and Salvation Army members gathered at the Paige Farley-Hackey Memorial Playground last Friday to remember and recognize the impact Farley-Hackel has had on lives throughout Greater Boston.

"The only way we will triumph over terrorism and conquer the senseless tragedy of that horrible day is by celebrating the kindness of the human spirit," said her husband Allan Hackel during the ceremony. "Paige did that every day of her life." Click here to read Hackel's full speech

Following the ceremony, those who attended spent time planting flowers and plants around the playground, which was dedicated to Paige in 2007.

Paige, who was a board member for the Salvation Army, was working on trying to launch a radio talk show about spirituality called 'Spiritually Speaking,' . She was on her way to the west coast to meet a friend, Ruth McCourt, her friend's 4-year-old daughter, Juliana in Disneyland. While McCourt and her daughter traveled on one plane (United Flight 175), Paige traveled on another (AA Flight 11). Both planes hit the World Trade Center that day. 

For more information on last week's ceremony, readout the full press release from the Salvation Army below:

As a dozen pre-schoolers recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang “My God is So Big,” Salvation Army colleagues, volunteers and the family and friends of Paige Farley-Hackel gathered at the playground built in her honor to recall her spirit for life and generosity toward others.

During the poignant and powerful ceremony at The Paige Farley-Hackel Memorial Playground, directly adjacent to the Salvation Army Children’s Learning Center in Dorchester, each speaker marveled how Paige Farley-Hackel continues to improve the lives of so many even 10 years after her death on American Airlines Flight 11.

“The only way we will triumph over terrorism and conquer the senseless tragedy of that horrible day is by celebrating the kindness of the human spirit,” said her husband Allan Hackel, of Newton. “Paige did that every day of her life.”

Since the Paige Farley-Hackel Playground was dedicated in June 2007, area children have been able to enjoy a park that was once a neighborhood eyesore. After the ceremony, Salvation Army volunteers continued to improve the playground by planting flowers, plants and other greenery.

“This lot was formerly known as ‘the steps to nowhere,’” Allan Hackel said. “It is now an oasis filled with laughter, smiles and hope. The hope for the American Spirit. The spirit that continues to give us strength and courage. The spirit that gives us the strength to survive each day without someone that we love.”

Major Justin Longcoy, who served at Ground Zero New York for many weeks after the attacks, told the gathering that places like the playground are vital as the nation pauses to reflect on September 11th and its aftermath.

“We are here today to remember those that perished and especially Paige. We are on a playground that is not all that special, metal, plastic and paint. But this playground is special because of the individual it represents,” said Major Longcoy, Corps Officer, The Salvation Army of Massachusetts Jubilee House. “In her service, she gave hope to individuals that she had never met. She did not meet all the people that were served, but because of her service she gave a promise of hope.” To read Longcoy's full speech, click here.

Longtime Greater Boston Advisory Board member Rosemarie Van Camp, who first nominated Farley-Hackel for a position on The Salvation Army advisory board, said Farley-Hackel would be heartened to see so many children enjoying “her playground.”

“This is a place of love, love for children, love for learning and for teaching love for the Salvation Army and helping others,” Van Camp said. “Paige was a person of love. To know her was to love her and she loved us back.” To read Van Camp's full speech, click here

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