600. It's the number of homemade frozen meatballs Rose Foti brought with her on a plane from New York to Colorado Springs. Thursday night she served them up to fire fighters at the Doubletree Hotel. The fire fighters are in town for Saturday's 20th annual Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial Service. It's a tradition Foti has continued every year since 9-11-- the year her son Robert Foti was killed when the south tower of The World Trade Center collapsed. Foti says she finds solstice every time she comes here to feed meatballs and macaroni to the masses-- a dinner she serves with a message: Never forget. She's talking about the 2,749 people killed on 9-11, who's bodies were never identified. 129 of them were fire fighters including her son.
"They were cremated," said Foti. "Their remains were thrown in the Fresh Kills Family Dump."
"Fresh Kills," the actual name of the Staten Island land fill where tons of 9-11 rubble was shipped. Rose says her wish is to have the sacred ashes removed, separated from the trash and laid to rest.
"They need a proper burial," said Foti. They're our heroes, America doesn't throw away its heroes."
But Foti adds, part of the problem is much of America doesn't know what happened to its heroes. A sentiment shared by fire fighter Billy Milligan, over bites of meatball.
"The whole country needs to be educated on what's going on," said Milligan.
And that's where Foti comes in... and her meatballs. It's food for thought and a tribute to Robert.
"He doesn't walk this earth anymore, but that's okay, because he walks beside me, he'll never leave me."
Foti and others have put together a Web site detailing efforts to give those men and woman a proper burial. The site also includes a petition. You can visit it at www.wtcfamiliesforproperburial.com.