You have probably seen the above photo circulating the web a whole lot since last Thursday – the 13 year anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
The story behind it starts off with assistant professor, Elizabeth Stringer Keefe. As anyone who is familiar with what happened on that fateful day, while the Twin Towers are the structures that ultimately collapsed, it definitely affected the surrounding areas – and of course, the whole city, as well. Due to the enormity of the towers and the attacks, the surrounding downtown area was littered with approximately 1.2 million tons of debris – even reaching as far as Staten Island. While much of it was structural, obviously the people who worked in those towers day in and day out were also subject to getting their belongings strewn about.
It was Asst. Professor Keefe’s friend who had originally stumbled across the above photo of the mystery couple and adoring guests in downtown New York . However, due to her impending move to California, she passed it over, knowing Keefe would accomplish something “meaningful” with it.
Boy, was her friend right! Without knowing any information on the photo’s subjects, Elizabeth continued to post the photo on her social media accounts year after year in hopes to return it to its rightful owner. Of her passionate journey, she said:
“I felt it was such a powerful photo, and it spoke to me. A wedding photo is not just an average photo. And connected to 9/11, whatever the story was, it gave me a sense of purpose to get it back to its owner.”
While it undoubtedly took a heck of a long time, Keefe’s persistence and determination was unwavering. She even recruited a dedicated group of friends to join in on the cause. That being said, it wasn’t until this year – thanks in part to Universal Hub and retweets from famous celebrities such as Blake Shelton – that her story and tweets went truly viral. With approximately 80,000 retweets, the assistant professor was finally on the path to succeeding at her goal.
It was Jason Papper – coworker of Fred Mahe, who is pictured in the far left of the photo – that stumbled across the image on the Internet. Once he saw it, he knew he had to get back in contact with Mahe and complete this never-ending saga.
Once Fred Mahe was made aware of this incredible discovery, he made sure to then contact Keefe to share his appreciation and gratitude. Best of all? All 6 people in the photo are alive and well, and Elizabeth Stringer Keefe and Mahe are set to meet in New York City today!
Take a look at the exchange of tweets between them here. If this doesn’t warm your heart, we don’t know what will.
For more Photo of the Day features, check out our articles here.
What other miraculous occurrences inspire you?