9/11 Memorial worker's solemn daily duty with white roses

- Mark Mikulski doesn't deliver roses for a living. The deliveries he makes are purely out of love. For the last four years, Mark has gone to the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan with a clipboard of names and a bucket of white roses.

"One of the questions I frequently get asked when I'm placing a rose and taking a photograph is, 'Is this someone that you know?'" he said. "And I go, 'No, I feel like I've come to know many of these people at this point after doing this for years.'"

He places the roses in the names of victims of the 2001 and 1993 World Trade Center terror attacks to honor their birthdays.

"We have nine roses to place today, nine birthdays today," he said. "Some days there are as few as two or three, which is rare. Some days there are as many as 16 or 17."

At 61, Mark has a right knee that needs replacing and his left ankle is fused from an accident. Yet without fail, each day with his roses, he is at the north and south tower memorials, visibly in some pain. The pain, however, is overshadowed by what is in his heart.

"It is 110,000 square feet of museum and eight acres of memorial, so on rainy days I'm really tested," Mark said. "But I'll be really honest with you, no matter what kind of day I think I'm having – physically or mentally – I just remember where I am and a few limping steps, I'll be all right."

Michael Collarone of FloraTech supplies the roses – 2,983 each year.

"I pass this way every day now when I go to work since 9/11 and I see the roses," Collarone said. "And I see that the people are being honored and it makes me feel really good inside that people aren't forgotten and we'll always remember them."

Although Mark works with visitor services for the September 11 Memorial and Museum, his job as the birthday flower delivery man brings him the most pleasure – and still makes him cry.

"I told myself a long time ago that I had shed my last tear over 9/11. That is absolutely not true," Mark said. "I do and I know I will continue to."

And he won't be the only one.

CORRECTION: Mikulski is an employee, not a volunteer.

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