When the terrorist attacks of 9/11 occurred, Lou Esposito watched from his Staten Island, N.Y. home as the World Trade Center towers fell and felt he had to contribute. A 36-year veteran truck owner/operator at the time, he would drive for his eight-hour shift and then volunteer at Ground Zero for four or five additional hours. This went on for 16 months until a piece of steel rebar fell on his head, causing him to suffer a severe stroke, which left him unable to walk or speak for a year. This accident also ended his trucking career.
A Living Memorial
In addition to his hours spent volunteering at Ground Zero and despite his devastating injury, Mr. Esposito wanted to do more. He decided to create a living memorial to the victims of the 9/11 attacks the best way he knew how.Mr. Esposito spent all of his savings driving his truck out to California, where he had it painted with images from 9/11 and the names of every September 11, 2001 victim.
An Artistic and Poignant Tribute
The 18-year-old Californian artist hired by Mr. Esposito to decorate the commemorative truck used a special 3-D paint to create ghostly images of the Twin Towers, which appear and then disappear depending on the angle at which the truck is viewed. On one side of the cab is an alphabetical list of every single 9/11 victim, and the top of the hood depicts images of New York City firefighters.
After more than a year of volunteering at Ground Zero and sustaining an injury doing so, before creating a mobile tribute to victims of 9/11, Lou Esposito doesn’t call himself a hero. “The kids who go to Iraq and lose their lives, they are my heroes,” the humble former truck driver says. We couldn’t agree more, but we would believe that if a hero is defined as one who displays noble qualities, that Mr. Esposito deserves that recognition as well.