Skip to comments.Wedding Band From 9/11 Victim Brings Back Lost Spirit [Never Forget]
Posted on 10/08/2007 7:33:24 AM PDT by Incorrigible
By SEAN KIRST
Mark Morabito, who lost his wife on Sept. 11, received her wedding ring back recently. It was found with some of her remains at the site of the crash last month. (Photo by Stephen D. Cannerelli)
SKANEATELES, N.Y. Mark Morabito does not separate the original meaning of his wife's wedding ring from the way that it was lost. He accepts it all, joy and sorrow, whenever the ring bumps against his chest.
Fourteen years ago he bought the ring from a friend, a diamond broker living in Florida. Morabito remembers how heavy it felt the first time he held it in his hand. He remembers the delight on the face of Laura Lee DeFazio, his wife-to-be, when she agreed in 1993 to wear the ring. He remembers how she never took it off, until it seemed almost a part of her hand.
In those days, he said, the ring was a perfect circle, three bands of gold with one big diamond and 15 smaller ones. But the ring that Morabito now wears on a gold chain around his neck does not have a perfect shape. It is flattened on one side, as if bent by great force.
On Oct. 4, what would have been Laura's 41st birthday, Morabito took the ring off his neck. He held it up to the sun, noticing where the gold is nicked and scratched.
"If this ring could only talk," Morabito said quietly.
Laura Lee Morabito wore it on Sept. 11, 2001, the day she climbed onto American Airlines Flight 11 for what she and Mark assumed would be a routine business trip. Terrorists flew the plane into the north tower of the World Trade Center. The jet fuel exploded, touching off a fire of enough heat to bring the tower down.
"Nothing survived it," Morabito said. "But this did."
He brought the ring that day to the shoreline of Skaneateles Lake southwest of Syracuse, where he walked in a park near the Sherwood Inn, a restaurant where he and Laura "went all the time." Morabito looked down the street and pointed out Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, the Oct. 19 location of the funeral for his wife.
Until a few weeks ago, any funeral at all seemed to be a fantasy. In the same way as countless others who endured great loss at the World Trade Center, Morabito gave up on the chance of getting back any remains. That despair abruptly ended last month, when he received a call from the chief medical examiner's office in New York City.
Staff members told him they had used DNA testing to identify his wife. And they told him, to his complete disbelief, they also recovered Laura Lee's wedding ring.
The remains were moved a few weeks ago to the White Chapel Funeral Home in Auburn. Morabito and Laura Lee's parents, Larry and Beverly DeFazio, were there waiting. They asked for a few minutes alone in the room. Morabito knows this is difficult to explain, but he said it was a spiritual, reaffirming moment.
"It was phenomenal," he said. "It was as if we could hear her saying, 'I'm way past this, I'm way past suffering, I love you and I want you to go forward.'"
Getting the ring back took a little longer. Years ago, it had been placed in a bag in New York City and held as police evidence, linked to Laura Lee's remains through the numbers on a tag. When evidence technicians went last month to get the ring, they realized the tag on the bag had fallen off. That led to a few nervous days for Morabito, who scrambled to find a photo that might help in the search.
It wasn't needed. The technicians eventually came up with the right bag. Morabito was asked to drive to New York to claim the ring, but state Sen. Michael Nozzolio quietly interceded. Last Friday, the state police brought the ring across the state, relay-style, until a trooper brought it to the door of Morabito's Owasco home.
Morabito took the ring from the trooper. He removed it from the bag and gently placed it in the palm of his hand. He noticed how the ring was bent. The central diamond was gone, the prongs pushed back as if by an overwhelming wind. Morabito turned the ring in his fingers, focusing on every scratch and sign of trauma in the gold.
In that moment, he said, he was there with Laura Lee. He could feel the motion of his wife's arm upon the impact of the plane, the catastrophic force that bent her wedding ring but could not destroy it.
After six years, once the ring was in his hand, his wife was back.
"A lot has happened since Sept. 11," Morabito said. His father and grandmother both died in 2006. In each case, Morabito said, he could touch wedding rings or other physical symbols of their lives.
"Not with Laura," he said. "With Laura, the only symbol that I had was an airplane flying into the side of a building."
Morabito intends to wear the ring around his neck until the day of Laura's funeral, when he plans on giving it to Laura's mom. That will be difficult, he said, but it is the right choice. It is part of allowing his wife to go in peace, a natural farewell he now can give her in good conscience.
(Sean Kirst is a columnist for The Post-Standard of Syracuse, N.Y. He can be contacted at citynews(at)syracuse.com.)
Not for commercial use. For educational and discussion purposes only.
Always Remember; Never Forget ping
That is one powerful story.
Never. . . . . . . .
Funny,...I just read an article that slammed Rudy for bringing up 9-11 all the time.....make up your minds people.....!
Never forget. Never forgive.
What an amazing story. Thanks for posting it!
What a beautiful, loving, touching story of two people in love whose lives were so abruptly halted that September morning. We are so happy the ring was returned and...how nice of the husband to present it to his wife’s mother after the funeral. I’m sure the mother will relish having the ring and will wear it close to her heart forever.
None of us should ever forget 9-11. We know we will not. However, remembering can be done in a lot of ways. No matter how many planes destroyed the WTC, damaged the Pentagon or crashed into a lonely field in Pennsylvania...there are too many people left behind of all those who lost their lives to EVER forget.
Those families will forever and always hold their loved ones close inside their hearts. Prayers are said for them daily and memories flow every single day for all of them so...they will NEVER be forgotten. Those victims live on and always will. The damage done that day by terrorists = have no clue what kind of love we are talking about here. They just don’t understand nor care that the familes of those lost and the rest of us are like the American Spirit...STRONG, UNENDING AND SACRED!!! THAT is something no one can EVER destroy.
God bless us all and God bless America!!!
What a beautiful testimony of love.
Tears shed and prayers said for this family. Never forget.
I feel blessed for having read this.
The Man who predicted 9/11 =
9/11 Lifesaver RICK RESCORLA, ..R.I.P.
(The Website-RICK RESCORLA Memorial Foundation)
(The Pictures-9/11 Widow/Mrs. SUSAN RESCORLA lovingly unveils RICK RESCORLA ‘Follow Me’ Statue at Ft. Benning, GA)
(The Rest of the Lifetime Lifesaver RICK RESCORLA Story)
(Where RICK RESCORLA walked in Vietnam, exactly-See 1st Photo)
That will be a healing moment for all of them. God Bless them.