September 11th, 2001 has had a profound impact – be it directly or indirectly – on countless people around the world. As many others, I remember where I was, what I was doing as if it were yesterday. This post is one I wrote last year as part of Project 2996. Today, ten years after the towers fell, its meaning remains as profound. The lives that have been affected by that day continues to cause a ripple through time as many, myself included, have not forgotten those whom where lost, the families that were forever changed, or the countless first responders who risked their lives for complete strangers. Those lost September 11th, 2001 remain, to this day, in our hearts.
You would have been fifty-one this year.
You may even have still been with Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc, in the same building, with the same co-workers and friends. You likely would have kissed your wife Christy and daughter Christina goodbye as they saw you off to work. Some have hinted you would have arrived at the office, after your 45 minute commute from Wantagh on Long Island, with a muffin and coffee in hand and a smile on your face.
You would have been beaming with great pride over Christina’s university scholarships, where she now follows in your footsteps as she studies accounting.
Richard (Rich) Anthony Aceto, of Wantagh New York was at work, in One World Trade Center, The North Tower, on that crisp September morning. Colleagues and friends describe Richard as a friendly, happy and always smiling gentleman. Richard was a great friend who made time for those close to him, even if it meant rushing Uptown to meet up with a former colleague for a quick bite to eat. Unbeknownst to him, this selfless hike Uptown to see Nancy would be the last they saw of each other. He will never know how grateful she is to have such a friend in Richard.
Richard loved his family deeply. A colleague recounts Rich’s beaming face upon his return to work after the birth of his only daughter Christina. Christina, Richard’s “Baby Girl”, now a bright and beautiful 19-year-old woman, lost her father before she really had the chance to know him. At just 12 years old, Christina read allowed her father’s name during the September 11th memorial. As one of the first readers, she said: “I love you, Daddy. I miss you a lot. Richard Anthony Aceto.”
I hope Christina’s had an opportunity to meet some of his childhood friends who could share stories of the ball games on Butler Street in South Brooklyn. Those who called him “Richie” and still remember the smell of her Grandma’s cooking.
Richard’s wife, Christy Athanasiou Aceto, who also works in the accounting field, holds a position in a Midtown New York firm to which she travels regularly from, I assume, their home in Wantagh. Gathering from an obituary guest book entry she posted many years ago to a colleague of Richard’s, Christy appears to be a very kind-hearted sentimental woman with green thumb as the perennials given to her and Richard had flurished in their garden.
I was in New York City recently. I spent a day where the World Trade Center towers once stood. I paid my respects at St. Paul’s Chapel and as I walked those city blocks, I thought of you.
At Tribute WTC, I found you.
Amongst the names of the fallen, I searched.
I searched for a man I knew little about.
I found father, a friend, a kind-hearted gentleman who was taken far too soon.
You are remembered, Richard.
This tribute for Richard Anthony Aceto is part of Project 2996. There are still a number of wonderful people who were lost that are without tribute. Please consider participating and celebrating the lives of those men and women who were taken from their loved ones far too soon.
Richard worked for Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc, which took up eight floors in the North Tower: from 93 to 100. At 8:46am, Flight 11 hit the North Tower between floors 93 and 99. Of the 295 employees and 60 consultants present at the time, none survived; but they remain in our hearts.