BC Holds Special Patriots Day Tribute

BC Holds Special Patriots Day Tribute

Ceremony recalls 1999 graduate lost in World Trade Center attack

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

The American flag that flew over the Boston College campus on Patriots Day last week will serve as a lasting tribute to the memory of 1999 graduate Kevin Williams, who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Boston College Police Lt. Eugene Neault (left) and Patrolman Viriato Sena prepare to raise a flag in the memory of Kevin Williams '99, watched by (L-R) Williams' mother, Patricia; University President William P. Leahy, SJ; Williams' sister, Kelly, and father, Michael; Director of Campus Ministry James Erps, SJ; and Public Affairs Senior Media Relations Officer Reid Oslin.
University President William P. Leahy, SJ, and Director of Campus Ministry James D. Erps, SJ, joined members of the Williams family for the April 15 campus flag-raising ceremony. Boston College Police Lt. Eugene Neault and Patrolman Viriato Sena hoisted the flag to half-staff on the Sgt. Edward Keady Memorial Flagpole adjacent to police headquarters in Rubenstein Hall. The pole overlooks the lower campus as well as the Boston Marathon route on nearby Commonwealth Avenue.

The memorial flag has also flown over the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC, and this past week was raised over the Ground Zero site of the Trade Center attack and over New York City's Yankee Stadium. It will then be permanently displayed at a refurbished baseball park dedicated to Williams in his hometown of Shoreham, NY.

Patricia Williams, Kevin's mother, said that Boston College was an important part of her son's life and it was especially meaningful to have the flag flown in Chestnut Hill on the day of the marathon. "He lived in Ignacio Hall as a senior," she said. "He loved to watch the marathon on Commonwealth Avenue with his friends every year when he was here."

This year's Boston Marathon had an added significance for the Williams family as Kevin's long-time Shoreham friend and BC classmate Alison Cahill ran the 26.2-mile route in his honor. Cahill, who is a third year student at Boston College Law School, helped raise more than $4,000 in donations to the Kevin Williams Memorial Fund by finishing the run.

"I was with the Williams family and Kevin's fiancée, Jillian Volk, directly after the attacks and remember feeling like there was nothing I could do to relieve their pain at all," Cahill said. "Kevin was such an athlete, such a competitor, so talented at any sport he picked up, I knew that he would appreciate the physical and mental challenge of a marathon."

Cahill and Volk's sister, Kerrin Hage, ran the race in t-shirts with an American flag and "9-11" on the front and "Kevin Williams Memorial Fund" and a heart-shaped flag logo on the back.

"We were received tremendously throughout the marathon," Cahill said. "People were shouting Kevin's name, which just made us stronger, reminding us of why we were out there running. Other runners asked us about Kevin and we told them to look for the flag at BC in his honor.

"It gave me so much strength and pride to get to the top of Heartbreak Hill and see the Williamses and know that the flag was for Kevin. I made eye contact with Mrs. Williams and I felt like I was going to cry."

Patricia Williams recalled her son's days at Boston College and said the University's 1999 Commencement Exercises was an especially proud moment for Kevin. "He even taped 'Thanks Mom & Dad' to his mortarboard," she said.

After receiving his degree from the Carroll School of Management, Kevin Williams joined Sandler O'Neill & Partners, L.C., an investment banking firm with offices on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center's south tower.

"He was very successful in every endeavor he ever went into," Patricia Williams said. "He moved up very quickly at Sandler O'Neill, and had become one of their youngest bond salesmen."

Following the Sept. 11 tragedy, Kevin Williams' family, friends, business colleagues and many Boston College alumni joined to establish the memorial fund in his name. The effort has provided financial support for the refurbishment of the baseball field at Shoreham-Wading River High School and created summer sports camp scholarships for underprivileged children on Long Island.

As part of the park's renovation, a new scoreboard and flagpole were erected. The scoreboard includes a plaque that reads "Dedicated to Kevin's spirit and the game he loved." Williams was twice voted the Most Valuable Player on Shoreham-Wading River's baseball team. A lifelong baseball fan, Kevin frequently attended New York Yankees games while living in the New York area.

Michael Williams, Kevin's father, said that support from Kevin's classmates, friends and co-workers has been overwhelming. "Hundreds of people have been involved, and it seems that they can't do enough for us," he said. "It has given us great strength."

Kevin Williams is one of the estimated 2,300 victims of the terrorist attack whose bodies have not been recovered. "I don't know if we would have been able to survive if it were not for the people who have been around us," said Patricia Williams.

Patricia Williams said that she hopes there will be a permanent recognition for the 21 members of the Boston College community who were killed in the Sept. 11 attacks. "We want future generations to be reminded of the core values that these people have held," she said.


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