A Brother's Eulogy for Marco Alberto Motroni

by Héctor Juan Motroni
September 26, 2001
My brother was a good man, and he was killed by evil people. People with a twisted view of Islam. People who have violated the most basic teachings of love and caring found in the Koran.
And we ask, "Why?"
"Why does God allow a few evil men to create so much pain for so many good people?"
Father Ryan, today, and other religious leaders, during this past week, have given us answers that provide much comfort. They have said that my brother and the other good people who perished in the attack have been called by God and are now in a much better place. They have told us that we must not blame God… that God has given us free will, and that when confronted by evil, weak people will perform heinous and sinful acts. And as we hear their wisdom, we select the answers that work for us and that comfort us… and our faith in God is renewed and strengthened.
But in the middle of the night, when we wake up and realize this is not a nightmare, we hurt once again, and we again ask, "Why?" And as the night becomes morning and our hurt turns to anger, we want to take action and to do something…
…but, what can we do?
The brave men and women of the New York City police and fire departments who first responded to the attack and who perished were the first to take action. The heroic rescue workers who followed them continue to take action, and we now have a better appreciation for what these brave and selfless people are ready to do for us day in and day out.
Mayor Giuliani and Governor Pataki have guided us through a most difficult time, and they continue to act and put the city back on its feet.
The President, in his eloquent speech last week, outlined the actions that our government will take to fight terrorism and warned us that this will be a long fight. Our government and its elected officials are taking action.
But what can we do? To answer that question, I look to my brother's life.
My brother was a good man, and he was killed by evil people. He was a respected businessman…an athlete…an artist.
As a businessman, he was one of the most respected traders on the floors of the exchanges - a respect expressed by people he had known and whom we met while waiting in lines to see lists of survivors. As a member of the Board of the Mercantile Exchange, he worked to strengthen the Exchange and make it a pillar of our free market.
As an athlete, he loved basketball and baseball, and played with his sons and their friends… all of whom were half his age. The old man showed these younger men how to win with the finesse and soft touch that he learned in city playgrounds from friends like Leo Roche and Tony Mina.
As a musician, we thank God that we can still hear his rich and melodious voice in the records that we have of him singing with the Orquesta Novel.
But, my brother was more than that. My brother was a good man, and he was killed by evil people. He was a dedicated husband to his wonderful wife Emily.He was a loving father to his sons Mark, George and Chris. He was a concerned cousin to Bea, Mechy and Roli. He looked after our second cousins Annecita, Myrnita and Tonito who last week left no leaf unturned in their search for him. He was a best friend to Carlos whom he considered another brother and to his sister-in-law Angie.
And, my brother was more than that. My brother was a good man, and he was killed by evil people. He was "un Alma de Dios - A soul of God." We have seen him take the shirt off his back and give it to family… friends… strangers. He was kind and selfless. He was funny and witty. He appreciated this great country and the opportunity that it has given to our immigrant family. He was perplexed by the lack of appreciation that many citizens have for this country and its institutions.
And so as I ask, "what can I do?", I hear him say, "Show the terrorists that they have made us stronger, not weaker, by going back to your normal lives as soon as possible. Support the president and appreciate the work of those who are willing to give up their lives to save ours. Above all, be kind to others and show the generosity of spirit that we have seen this last week not just today, but tomorrow, and the day after, and all the days of your lives."
My brother was a good man, and he was killed by evil people. In his memory, I ask that we act as he would have asked us to act and that we practice the kindness and generosity of spirit that we saw throughout his life.
For my part, it will be easy to follow his example as I remember him.
I will remember our childhood in Cuba, and his coming to my aid when a fight would break out. I will remember his courage as a 10 year-old when our father died.
I will remember the day, shortly after we came to the United States, that he introduced me to what he thought was the best drink in New York City - the eggcream. He liked chocolate. I liked vanilla.
I will remember him explaining the rules of American football to me as we watched the 1961 New York Giants and I will remember him taking me down to the park at 145th Street and Riverside Avenue to play the game. I tried; he played.
I will remember him introducing me to basketball and always choosing me on his team, so I would not have to sit out the first game. He was an excellent player - a walk-on in the George Washington High School team. I was mediocre at best, and when he wasn't at the park, I'd have to wait to play.
I will remember working together at the Ateneo Cubano. He and I cleaned the club after the weekend dances. The worst part of the job was cleaning the bathrooms. He would fight with me to clean them, so I would not have to. As we cleaned the club, we'd put records on the PA system and listen to Cuban music. He would take to the microphone and sing, and I would listen.
I will remember his pranks - never ill-intentioned, always ending with laughs and good nature.
I will remember the calls we made to each other's office around 9:00 in the mornings. He always had something funny to say, and it felt so good talking to him.
I will remember the pride in his face the last time I saw him at George's and Christine's engagement party. In typical fashion, he was as attentive to the help as he was to the guests. It seemed every time I looked at him, he was tipping some one else.
I will remember the goodness in my brother, and try to practice the kindness and generosity of spirit that he showed towards the whole world.
My brother was a good man, and we will remember him with love, happiness, hope for the future and, most of all, a smile.