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The date was Sept. 11, 2001. The time was 8:46 a.m., when a plane crashed into Tower One of the World Trade Center and changed our lives forever.
The greatest man on Earth, my father Billy Esposito (aka Scoop), was taken unexpectedly from my family and all of his friends. I was 23 years old.
I will never forget the beautiful Tuesday morning in September when nothing seemed any different in our house from any other day. My dad kissed us all goodbye one by one, as he always did early in the mornings before he left for his job at Cantor Fitzgerald, where he was a vice president and partner.
I was home alone getting ready for school, my mother was on her way to the beach, and my brother was at work. Twenty minutes earlier, I had just spoken with my father, and he had asked if I had seen his cell phone. I told him that I was certain that my mother had stolen it from him, as her phone was broken. I then told him to not worry about it and get back to work, make some money and that I loved him. I had no idea that those would be the last words I would ever have with my father.
What seemed like another ordinary day in our lives turned out to be nothing of the sort.
Minutes later, I overheard a voice on my parents' answering machine saying that something had happened in my father¹s office and that we should turn on the television. With that, I sprinted downstairs, turned on the television and could not believe my eyes and ears. My heart felt like it was about to jump out of my chest, and I felt a strong sense of nausea as I immediately reached for the phone and dialed my father's office.
The response was one busy signal after another, which led me to think of calling his cell phone, momentarily forgetting that we had just had a conversation about how he did not have it with him. I then unsuccessfully attempted to contact the rest of my immediate family. What was happening? What seemed like another ordinary day in our lives turned out to be nothing of the sort.
At that moment, my mother came through the door hysterically crying, followed by friends, my boyfriend and my brother. We all sat glued to the television, hoping for a call from my father to tell us he had escaped or to wake up from a terrible nightmare. Moments later, we watched his building collapse to the ground, and me, my mom and brother felt our lives collapse to the ground as well as we clung together and cried uncontrollably while trying to deal with this unimaginable tragedy.
My father started his career on Wall Street when he was 16 years old, and it came to an unexpected halt at age 51. He was a loyal, ambitious and team-oriented man who worked very hard to get to the top so that he could provide for his family. There are not enough adjectives in the dictionary to describe the type of husband, father, uncle, cousin, son, friend and colleague he was to all of us. He was very unique and had a gift of making everyone around him feel special.
He lived by a motto that his mother had taught him, "If you have it, you give it."
My father had strong beliefs: to be kind to everyone, love one another and believe in yourself. The most important thing to my father was his family. As we were his whole world, there was nothing we could or could not do without one another.
My family and I decided to start a foundation in memory of my father. His major passion was education, as he did not have the means growing up to obtain a proper education. He always told us how important education was, and he made sure he was able to provide us the opportunity he was never able to experience himself. He was also very fond of children, and it pains me that he will never be able to meet his grandchildren.
I have three children—my oldest daughter Billie is 5, Isabella is 3 and Dominick is 1.
The Billy Esposito Foundation's mission began with the goal of providing bereavement services through a center and financial assistance for educational opportunities to children who experienced the loss of a parent. No matter whether a child or teen, or the cause of death, we want to ensure my father's major passion lives on through as many children as possible.
It is our way of telling him we miss him and making sure we continue his way of making so many people feel his wonderful presence.