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One month after it opened on 9/11/2011 I finally got in to see the memorial. Ten years after the tragic events which precipitated it.

The landscape is very different now that two seemingly bottomless-pit fountains sit in the foundations of the original towers. The scale of the memorial certainly reflects the scope of the loss in its impact on our society.

I did not know any of the victims first hand. I know somebody who lost a daughter.

The names photographed somewhat randomly here, at the South reflection pool, are unknown to me. This spot opened up to me on approaching the pool. They are amongst the first responders. I see three complete names …

Michael F. Cammarata
Steve John Mercado
Thomas J. Foley

I’ll expand this post or break out new ones after doing some research to discover who these men were and what philanthropic aspirations they might have left undone. I’d like to advance one of their causes. I’m avoiding thoughts of paying it forward because I hope never to need rescuing. I’m simply grateful that people do this. Helping them reach beyond the grave is a fitting way to honour and remember them — since their own lives were cut short in the service of others.



Here’s what I’m learning. If you have suggestions/edits/corrections please help me in the comments …

Michael F. Cammarata …

Michael Cammarata Foundation

Steve John Mercado …

Firefighter Steve Mercado, Engine 40

Thomas J. Foley …

Firefighter Thomas J. Foley, legacy of a young hero
YouTube Foley Legacy Trailer



On a sour, side note: The security at the memorial is invasive. Similar to boarding a flight, down to removing your belt and being herded through security lines by impersonal TSA types who are little concerned about your losing sight of your wallet, phone and keys as they shuffle people and their belongings in different directions. Shameful. A very painful reminder of what we all lost when the towers fell: Our liberty, privacy and dignity in public places. It’s not the “message” I expected to walk away with. I’m very saddened by it.

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