A memorial is something designed to preserve the memory of a person or a past event. Working at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, I have seen the limitless ways loved ones, friends, and even strangers have created memorials for 9/11 victims. Poems, songs and works of art are only the beginning. Over nearly 12 years, many have found ways to show their appreciation and love for the victims who lost their lives on Sept. 11 through their own personal tributes like this memorial bag.
This unique memorial bag caught the attention of many of the museum staff. One thing we were particularly curious about was the man memorialized on it. New York City fire Lt. Michael A. Esposito was one of the 12 members of Squad One to lose his life on 9/11. Esposito was a man remembered for many things, including his involvement in search and rescue efforts during the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and other Federal Emergency Management Agency projects. He was known for his presence in his community as a helpful neighbor and loving husband and father to his wife and two sons. He was also a dedicated and brave firefighter.
What makes this bag stand out as a memorial is the level of decoration and detail that went into its creation. This memorial bag, likely made from a pair of Esposito’s jeans, is complete with a belt and bandanas, gold star embellishments, and applique photographs. The bag was donated by his wife, Denise Esposito, and became part of the museum collection in 2013.
We find that this unique bag not only commemorates the well-decorated firefighter and family man, but also shows how loved and well-respected he still is amongst his family, friends and fellow fighters to have this wonderful tribute created in his honor. No matter who views the memorial or where, it will be difficult for anyone to forget its original design or the brave man for which it was designed.
By Melanie Derschowitz, Assistant Cataloguer for the 9/11 Memorial Museum