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White Plains 9/11 Exhibit Soothes Victim's Family

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Ester DiNardo and Nella Barrese studied a chalkboard outlining a fire department's response to the Sept. 11 attacks and looked over several missing person notices displayed at the White Plains Library’s “New York Remembers” exhibit Thursday.

Both White Plains women were surrounded by local politicians and community members commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. However, the memory of Marisa DiNardo , who passed away while trapped on the 105th floor of one of the towers, consumed both.

Ester DiNardo, Marisa’s DiNardo’s mother, said she appreciated the work that went into organizing the “New York Remembers” exhibit that displays artifacts from Ground Zero.

“To me [the attacks] feel like yesterday and I feel like she’s around me all the time,” said DiNardo, who enjoys paying tribute to her daughter by recalling fond memories and attending memorial ceremonies. “So many people knew her and everybody loved her.”

The day before 9/11, both DiNardo women celebrated Ester DiNardo’s birthday at the Windows of the World restaurant at the top of the north World Trade Tower.

“Marisa told me, ‘Mom, I have you at the top of the world.’ And the next morning it turned out to be a celebration for good, but she’s in my heart and mind,” said DiNardo.

After terrorism claimed the life of Marisa DiNardo, a trader at Cantor and Fitzgerald, at age 38, family and friends preserved her memory by placing her pocketbook in the national memorial in downtown New York City, according to Nella Barrese, who was best friends with Marisa DiNardo since the two were eight.

“She was never found,” said Barrese, 49. “I was home watching my little daughter and I was putting the TV on for her. I couldn’t understand why they kept replaying the 1993 bombing. Then I realized it was higher up and I immediately called my girlfriend. She never answered.”

Later, Barrese discovered all of her messages on Marisa DiNardo's cell phone, which Marisa DiNardo left at home while rushing to get to a meeting on time.

“I honor her every day in my prayers. Not a day goes by without her there,” said Barrese. “She had the greatest spirit. To me she was an angel.”

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