Photo credit: 9/11 Memorial staff
Accession Number: C.2013.14.1
Dimensions: 27 in X 33 in X 2 in
Dimensions (Metric): 68.58 cm X 83.82 cm X 5.08 cm
Credit Line: Gift of Manuel Rodriguez
Black button-up "Birdie" brand jacket, size XL. The jacket is covered in various patches for agencies such as the Department of Sanitation, Port Authority Police Department, and FDNY. Many of the patches are commemorative in nature. The name "Manny" is embroidered in red on the right breast and "United We Stand 9-11-01" with the Twin Towers are embroidered on the left breast. The back of the jacket is embroidered in red with "Local 282 Teamsters | Local 40 Iron Workers." A bulldozer, 18-wheeler, backhoe, and an Iron worker are also embroidered on the back. "Local 16" is below the bulldozer and "Local 14" is below the backhoe. Above the 18-wheeler are the Twin Towers colored like an American flag.
In September 2001, Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez was working for United States Armor, driving a bulletproof trailer loaded with US currency to and from Federal Reserve Banks across the country. He and his work partner arrived in Memphis, Tennessee with a shipment early on the morning of September 11, 2001. The two were asleep in their fortified vehicle when Secret Service agents suddenly alerted Rodriguez that the nation was under siege. After seeing the attacks on television, Rodriguez, a Bronx native, realized that his hometown was targeted.
While returning to their home base in Colorado, Rodriguez and his partner felt compelled to head to New York and assist with the recovery efforts underway at Ground Zero. After calling his old union hall, Rodriguez and his partner finished their assignment with United States Armor, resigned from their positions, and hitch-hiked a ride with a truck bound for New York. They arrived at Ground Zero in late October 2001. Rodriguez recalled that the smell of death permeated the air, dredging up memories of his time in serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam.
Under the direction of Anthony Grace Construction Company, Rodriguez’s initial work at Ground Zero involved operating Euclid trucks to move accumulated debris and descend into the pit as more twisted steel was removed. Using grapplers, debris was loaded onto the truck and brought up to street level where uniformed personnel sifted through it before being moved onto barges headed to Fresh Kills landfill. Rodriguez remained at Ground Zero through the official end of recovery operations in May 2002, sleeping and eating at St. Paul’s Chapel.