ATTLEBORO (AP).- Before the politicians and the cameras showed up, Ellen and Bill Goodchild took an unhurried stroll on the bridge that now bears their daughter's name. There were no tears; just smiles for the child they lost on 9/11.
Lynn Goodchild and her boyfriend, both 25, died in the attack on the World Trade Center towers.
"If they named a mailbox after my daughter I'd be happy," Ellen Goodchild, of Attleboro, told The Associated Press. "She would be like, 'They're naming a bridge after me? We were just a couple of kids!' For them to be remembered 10 years later, and for total strangers to come up with the idea, it's just wonderful."
Lynn Goodchild was heading to Hawaii for a vacation with boyfriend Shawn Nassaney when their United Airlines Flight was hijacked and flown into the South Tower. On Thursday, the Goodchilds joined the Nassaneys to dedicate the rebuilt and renamed "Lynn Goodchild Shawn Nassaney 9/11 Remembrance Memorial Bridge."
The bridge arches over a rail line and connects Attleboro and Pawtucket, R.I. It also connected Goodchild and Nassaney during their relationship.
"She lived in Attleboro, he lived in Pawtucket," said Patrick Nassaney, Shawn Nassaney's father. "I'm sure they came over this bridge a thousand times."
The 9/11 attacks ended what by all accounts was a promising future for Goodchild and Nassaney. They met while attending Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I. Nassaney worked in sales at American Power Conversion in Rhode Island. Goodchild was an administrator at Putnam Investments in Massachusetts. Both were working on their MBAs at Providence College and planned to marry once they graduated.
Both were hardworking, athletic and fun-loving, their parents said. He was a runner and she was president of the college martial arts club. They loved to travel.
In the nearly 10 years since 9/11 the Goodchilds and Nassaneys have stayed in close contact, connected by shared tragedy. Goodchild's family created a memorial foundation in her name. Nassaney's family set up a scholarship in his name and holds an annual charity golf tournament and a 5k run.
"It really doesn't heal," Patrick Nassaney said of his grief. "There's no such thing as closure. As you go on, it's like dust. It builds up a veneer."
What helps is knowing that your child isn't forgotten, he said. That's why he was delighted when the Goodchilds called four days ago and told them that city leaders had asked that the County Street Bridge be renamed in honor of Goodchild and Nassaney.
"He would have said, 'I have a bridge? Cool! Let's put a toll on it," Patrick Nassaney said.
More than 100 residents turned out for Thursday's dedication ceremony on the bridge. The mayors of Attleboro and Pawtucket spoke. So did Massachusetts state Rep. George Ross, R-Attleboro, who choked up when he mentioned the young couple. "We must keep their memories alive," he told the crowd.
The two families together pulled down the cover that had hidden the new name of the bridge. The crowd cheered.
"It's a good bridge," Ellen Goodchild said, all smiles.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.