Elizabeth Stringer Keefe the caretaker of the below beautiful wedding photograph that she found in the rubble at Ground Zero days after the 9/11 attacks has now finally accomplished her 13 year old mission.
“Every year on #911 I post this photo hoping 2 return 2 owner. Found at #groundzero #WTC in 2001. Pls RT,” the Cambridge, Massachusetts, Keefe tweeted Thursday.
The winsome photograph featuring a newlywed groom in a white bow tie, and the bride clutching a bouquet of yellow roses contained Fred Mahe, one of the few groomsmen in the photo with a pretty winter background and a snow-covered slope.
Mahe contacted Stringer Keefe on Friday after a coworker sent him a story about the photo. She was happy to discover that none were victims of the 9/11 attacks as she had feared.
Colorado resident Mahe identified the couple as Christine and Christian Loretto, his college friends married in Aspen, Colorado who now resides in California.
In 2001 Mahe, was still on his way to work when the attack started.
On Thursday night, Keefe’s photo that already gained major traction on social media this year, went viral, and got retweeted more than 40,000 times by Friday afternoon and “favorited“ more than 12,000 times.
Mahe sent Stringer Keefe a message on Linkedin, the pair talked for the first time over the phone.
“The story is Elizabeth, the story is persistence and trying to help someone she didn’t even know,” said Mahe.
He said Stringer Keefe told him she preserved the picture in her favorite Ernest Hemingway book.
Keefe, an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Education at Lesley University, and a PhD candidate at Boston College, said, “It was an overwhelming conversation.”
“Every year I go dig it out,” she said on the phone Friday. “I’ve been posting it for years, and it’s literally never gone anywhere.”
Post the World Trade Center destruction, Keefe on a visit to her friend Jennie in New York received the photo from the vicinity of ground zero from her friend who was moving to California.
“Please do something meaningful with it,” she said.
“There’s so much beauty and happiness in the photo, and whatever relationship it had to 9/11, I wanted to care for it until I could return it to its owner.”
Loredo, the bride in the photo also contacted Keefe and said she was struck by how dedicated the woman was to finding the owner of the photograph.
“I think it’s nice to know that people out there care so much for strangers,” Loredo said. “It gives me confidence in humanity.”