Daughter Of Fallen 9/11 Responder Selling $240 Handbag As A Tribute

Jen Mascali Says Reaction To Her Italian Hand-Crafted Tote Has Been Mixed

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — For the 10th anniversary of 9/11, there is a heartfelt tribute from a daughter who lost her dad.

But she knows not everyone will think it’s appropriate, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

“I wanted it to be a symbol of love and awareness,” handbag designer Jen Mascali said.

It hangs on her arm — but it comes from her heart.

“It’s my own little way of remembering my dad,” she said.

Mascali’s father, Joe, was a first responder killed when the Twin Towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001.

“He did things with honor, and I try to live my life through his example,” Mascali said.

9/11 handbag

The inscription on the leather tag of Jen Mascali's handbag is the only thing about the tote that scream "9/11." (Photo: CBS 2)

So for the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks, Mascali designed the “Remember” bag.

Mascali said the fact that the handbag doesn’t scream ‘9/11’ from a block away is by design. The simple red tote is handmade in Italy. The most striking design element is an embossed leather tag.

“And the quote on there is … ‘each life is a miracle that changes the world and leaves it a better place than it was before,’” Mascali said.

The bag retails for $240 and Mascali said she is donating all the proceeds to a 9/11 charity.

Asked what the reaction has been to the handbags, Mascali said, “We’ve had good and we’ve had some bad and that’s okay.”

She said she understands that some people are deeply uncomfortable with 9/11 commemorative items — and there’s a lot out there, everything from jewelry and figurines to dog collars and even a 9/11 anniversary wine, from Lieb Family Cellars on Long Island.

“You know, once you get into wine and dog collars, I think it gets a little bit trivializing everything,” ground zero visitor Sally Handley told Aiello.

“I think that there’s a fine line between crass commercialism and somebody who’s supporting a good cause,” added Tom Martin.

Mascali said she didn’t create the line for personal gain.

“I can’t expect everyone to understand my reason behind doing it, but for me it comes from a pure place of love,” she said.

She said she’s proud of her tribute — and her dad would be proud, too.

The “Remember” bag is being sold online, and at “Treasure and Bond” on West Broadway in SoHo.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Tony Aiello
  • Virignia in NJ

    Such negativity for a positive item and person…Shame on you all, so ready to spew your critisism at someone you don’t even know.

  • jeannie

    “Doc” as you call yourself is a loose term. It sounds to me like your the type of doctor who treats people for the money made by being a doctor. I really doubt you have a loving bedside manner. I am sure that your patients don’t give you a big hug after being treated by you, nor do you sound like the type of guy who would accept a hug. I didn’t know Jen’s Dad, but I am sure he was a loving father who left a lasting impression on his family and ten years later they remember what a great Dad he was! Your comments are disgusting! By the way Doc what have you done to make things better for families like the Mascali’s?

  • doc in NJ
  • Optimist

    I can’t believe the pessimism in the other comments. May this young lady one day be free from the pain caused by the loss of her father and may she always remember him as the hero that he is.

    • doc in NJ

      the pain will never go away – for ANYONE who lost family members on that date or who were traumatized by the attacks. There are many unsung heroes from that day – from the man who carried an disabled woman down 54 flights to the street to the emergency operators who stayed on the line with those hopelessly trapped simply because they knew he/she would be the last person the victim would be able to hear soothing words from.

      Many thousands of lives, perhaps millions worldwide, changed forever as a result of 9/11 – no victim’s grief is ANY MORE significant than anyone other.

      This type of latent profiteering from the attacks is reprehensible and unforgivable. I and many of my colleagues triaged victims with minor injuries for days post-911 and my daughter had no desire to sell commemorative buttons saying “My Dad treated patients for FREE after 9/11”

      Let us grieve in our own way, please. Hock your wares someplace else.

      • Virginia

        She isn’t profiting from the bag…this is her way to remember her father in a positive way, get over yourself and your negativity.

        I’m curious to know, did you charge these people for your services??

      • Ed in NY

        Hey Doc, her father gave his life going into the WTC to save other people that day, he was off duty, but ran to his truck with 10 other members of rescue 5 who also lost their lives (trying to save others). This girl is not profiteering as you put it. This is her way of giving back, every penny is going to the 911 memorial. This is how she decided to pay tribute. What you wrote is hurtful, and this family has been through enough. She was trying to do something nice and cynical minds like yours are twisting it into something less than honorable. You should know the facts before you speak your mind. Just be glad you came home that day to your family, because her father didn’t.

  • KPMc

    … ‘each life is a miracle that changes the world and leaves it a better place than it was before,’” Mascali said.

    So… does that apply to the terrorists, too? Does it apply to Obama in the eyes of the right-wing nuts I see post on here? Apply to W or Sarah Palin in the eyes of leftwing liberal losers? Does it apply to Rush Limbaugh and Keith Olberman?

    Because from what I see most hardly feel that way and it certainly hasn’t gotten better in the past ten years.

    Maybe it only applies to people that can afford or would buy a $240 handbag.

    Nice sentiments… too bad they are FAR from the truth.

    • doc in NJ

      well said.

  • Robert

    Her Dad was a great guy, honorable, dedicated, trustworthy are just a few words that come to mind. The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree as all his children have grown up to be people that their Dad would be proud of.

  • doc in NJ

    “…and Mascali said she is donating all the proceeds to a 9/11 charity.”

    Proceeds, I’ve learned, is a fairly loose term.

    • Hiran

      spot on doc!

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