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Twitter helps woman find owner of wedding photo lost at Ground Zero

"There's so much beauty and happiness in the photo that I just felt committed to the task."


Micah Singleton


Posted on Sep 13, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 2:33 pm CDT

After searching for 13 years, a woman has tracked down the owner of a wedding photo found at Ground Zero, thanks to the power of Twitter.

Elizabeth Stringer Keefe posted the photogiven to her by a friend who was at Ground Zeroto her social media accounts on the evening of Sept. 11, searching for the owner of the photo, just as she has done every year since the attacks.

Every year on #911 I post this photo hoping 2 return 2 owner. Found at #groundzero #WTC in 2001. Pls RT

— E. Stringer Keefe (@ProfKeefe) September 12, 2014

A professor at Lesley University, Keefe and some of her friends have searched for the owner of the photo, which features six people, to no avail. This year would be different.

Keefe’s attempts first got attention thanks to being featured on the the blog Universal Hub. By Friday, Keefe’s tweet had garnered more than 50,000 retweets, from celebrities like country music star Blake Shelton, who has more than 7 million followers.

Finally, on Friday evening, Keefe’s persistence paid off. A tweet from Fred Mahe came through, and it was the big break Keefe was waiting for. 

@ProfKeefe I KNOW THE PEOPLE IN THE PICTURE! I was at the wedding.

— Fred Mahe (@FredWMahe) September 12, 2014

Mahe saw Shelton’s retweet of Keefe’s original tweet, and quickly recognized the photo. Mahe is the man standing in the far left of the photo.

Dear Everyone: introducing the very much alive & well @FredWMahe!! #FARLEFT #weallknowyou #911photo #AMAZING #NYC Thank you to ALL

— E. Stringer Keefe (@ProfKeefe) September 13, 2014

Thanks @blakeshelton 4 retweeting the 9/11 people pic. We r all alive. The REAL STORY is @ProfKeefe, she is 100% 9/12 @MlynnrabbMonica #9/12

— Fred Mahe (@FredWMahe) September 13, 2014

The best news came when Keefe spoke to someone in the photo, who relayed the news that everyone pictured was still alive and well.

Attention wonderful world: ALL SIX PEOPLE ARE ALIVE AND WELL AND I HAVE JUST SPOKEN TO ONE OF THEM!!!!!!!!!!! #Happyending #911photo

— E. Stringer Keefe (@ProfKeefe) September 12, 2014

“It’s a beautiful, joyful moment captured in time and it was such a contrast to what I saw at Ground Zero, which was still burning when I was there,” Keefe said, speaking to Mashable. “So, if it had a relationship to 9/11, I wanted to keep it safe until I could return it to its owner. There’s so much beauty and happiness in the photo that I just felt committed to the task.”

Photo via Twitter

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*First Published: Sep 13, 2014, 2:24 pm CDT