2,996 Honoring the 9/11 Victims
I can remember exactly what I was doing during the terrorist attacks of 9/11. I was in my pajamas and I'd just sat down at the computer to read the Yahoo headlines that a plane had crashed in the World Trade Center. I remember at that time I wasn't phased. I didn't know the implications until I flipped on the news. I wore my pajamas all day. I cried. I made phone calls. I was glued to the breaking news for days to come, as I'm sure folks all over the nation, all over the world were.
That was five years ago to this day. My children won't remember what happened that day, but I will never forget, and neither will Michael's partner of 18 years, David O'Leary. When I signed up for The 2,996 Project, I cringed at the number. I wondered what God was thinking beckoning 2,996 angels to the gates that day. I sought out every piece of info I could by searching for Michael Lepore on the internet. I wanted to know anything and everything I could so I could pay a special tribute to Mr. Lepore. I craved detail. I wanted to get past the numbers. What I left with was an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.
I read that Mr. Lepore was very giving- went out of his way for strangers. He might have told me to call him Michael. He was a dedicated family man, taking pride in his relationship with David and making his house a home. He and his partner were restoring a Usonian ranch in Yonkers with a multitude of windows overlooking a terraced garden. He had three cocker spaniels and a collection of mission-style furniture. He adored his mother Jean Lepore-Carlucci and the adoration was mutual. It seemed like many family events centered around Michael, his home, his cooking. He was just 39. Michael and David were just getting settled into their careers, on the brink of enjoying the fruits of their labor together. 39...
My thoughts go out to Michael's family at this time. David, I wonder how five years has treated you; if Michael crosses your mind when you tend to the garden or stroll through the train station. May you always be blessed with thoughts of the best times you and Michael spent together. I am ending with a thank you for the gift that Michael's story has given me, and that is appreciate every day. Surround yourself with loved ones and express your love to them often by doing small things like cooking a homemade Italian meal or sharing the garden's bounty of eggplants. This is a rich, blessed life. R.I.P. Michael Lepore. You will always be missed. To all the families affected by 9/11, we will never forget.