"Erik worked there," he said. "Erik lived there. That was his home."
Mike Jalbert, a high school history teacher, is also going to New York.
His father, Robert Jalbert, 61, of Swampscott, who was married with three grown children, was a passenger on United Airlines Flight 175, one of the two planes terrorists crashed into the World Trade Center.
"I haven't been to ground zero," Jalbert said. "It never had any pull for me before. ... It's not like I avoided it. It's just that he died there; he didn't live there."
On Sunday, however, Jalbert will be at ground zero, where a memorial will be dedicated, inscribed with his father's name and the names of nearly 3,000 victims of the terrorist attacks.
"The memorial means something to me," he said. "And I want the day to be remembered, not in any kind of crusading type of way, but I definitely want the day to be remembered. ... It's about remembering him and everybody else who died that day and honoring their memory."
It's also a day, Jalbert said, to think of all the friends, neighbors and even strangers who have reached out, come to their house, called on the phone, sent a card, or offered love and support in some other way.
"It's very important to express how thankful we were then and will always be to everybody who was there for us," he said.
Karen Martin, 40, the head flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, was one of the first victims of 9/11. She was stabbed struggling with terrorists, according to news reports.
Martin was raised in Danvers, graduated from Danvers High, lived in Danvers as an adult, and is memorialized at her favorite place, the Danvers Public Library, where a bench is inscribed "In Our Hearts Forever."