An Ol’ Broad’s Ramblings

September 11, 2006

9/11/01 – Martin Morales Zempoaltecatl

Filed under: Uncategorized — olbroad @ 11:01

(more recent posts below)
I was assigned a name: Martin Morales Zempoaltecatl. I had never heard this name. There are others that you recognized after hearing them on the news time and time again. People like Todd Beemer, Barbara Olsen, Chick Burlingame. But has anyone ever heard the name Martin Morales Zempoaltecatl? Truth be told, I can’t even pronounce it. I decided to start my search for this young man on Google. It made sense. I typed in the long name, and came up with over 700 hits, the majority were sites listing the names of those who parrished on 11 September 2001. They’re long lists. But nothing told me about the person Martin had been. He was 22 years old. Too young to die. He worked as an assistant chef in the Windows of the World. This is all the information I could find. I wanted to know more. Was he married? Did he have children who will never see their daddy again? Where did he come from, what place did he call home, and will never be able to return? I know he lived in Queens. But where in Queens? What were his dreams that will never be fulfilled?

I received this picture from the 2996 group, but hadn’t really had a chance to actually look at this young man. The first thing I noticed, as I usually do, are his eyes. He has kind eyes. Was he a kind person? He must have been, he supported his parents. Then I saw a sweet, cheerful smile, and I knew he was a good person. For some reason, I see him liking children, nieces, nephews, the neighborhood kids.

Doing a little more digging, I found out Martin was born in Santa Catarina, Tlaxcala, Mexico. He supported his parents, Crescencio Morales, 60, and Mauricia Zempoaltecatl, also 60. Martin was the youngest of their children, and this tragedy hit them quite hard. They have since returned to Mexico.

One thing I did discover, as of that article, the family had not received any of the thousands of dollars that had been given so generously by the American people. I hope that has now been resolved. I’d like to find out if the family is now able to care for their other children and grandchildren.

This young man evidently wasn’t counted among the slaughtered innocents originally. Maybe he was in the country illegally, I’m not sure. It doesn’t matter. Legal, illegal, no one should have been murdered in such a manner on 11 September 2001. He is now counted. I am counting him. I will always remember Martin Morales Zempoaltecatl. May he rest in the loving arms of the Lord.




  1. Hey why & how did you receive this persons name?

    I lived in NY for 39 years at the time of 9/11 .

    I currently live in the midwest. Settled in a quiet town made mostly of country people. People look at me funny when they hear me talk & probably wonder what the heck am I doing here?

    Crazy I NEVER thought people here would have been touched by the way somany lives fell apart on 9/11.

    My husband worked on the search & rescue/recovery that day. I went home, picked up the kids, filled the truck with gas took out as much cash as I could at one time.

    It was a horrible day in history. A part of history I wish I was not a part of. I was & still am glad my parents were already deceased then. Otherwise they would be shattered with all the lives lost & how bad this world has become.

    9/11 changes my life in the smallest way, in comparison to Martin Morales Zempoaltecatl ‘s lost life mine are trivial. I am alive. My husband is alive & my children are alive.

    I will hang my flag so high on 9/11. I plan to hang my flag I received from my fathers funeral down the front of my house. I just need to. To show all that they should be glad they live in America. If they don’t like it…they should leave.

    I liked your research & I am sure it opened you eyes also. I pray his family is ok with where he is today & feel comforted that people do care.

    Comment by vicki diehl holm — September 8, 2006 @ 11:26

  2. I signed up with the 2996 project for bloggers. If you vist many blogs, you’ll see a lot of them will have them at the top of the page for a while. Some won’t, but they’ll have the tribute somewhere on their blog. There are 2,996 names, and one blogger was assigned a name, some have two. But the idea is to have one name on each blog on 9/11 to honor those who were murdered. There’s a little box on the sidebar that will take you to the site.

    Comment by Kate — September 8, 2006 @ 11:30

  3. The entire country was affected by that horrible day, not just New York, DC, or Pennsylvania. We were all as one. Here in the Heartland, many of us still are affected daily by the horrors of 5 years ago. That was OUR country too that go attacked, even if it is an island. Y’all were NOT alone, but any stretch of the imagination.

    Not to worry if people think you talk funny. To me, they ALL talk funny too. I’m from Texas. 🙂

    Comment by Kate — September 8, 2006 @ 11:34

  4. Kate-You are right about your young man. He has a kind, sweet face! I am overwhelmed by each and every individual. Their life testimony left a legacy of kindness, love, and a relationship with God that was passed on to others. You did a good job.

    My blog about Claudia Suzette Sutton is up.

    Gunz and I decided to do it different since we share our blog. His tribute to Sara Low is on our main site.

    Comment by Ebyjo — September 9, 2006 @ 11:01

  5. I spent hours trying to find more information on Martin, but no luck. I read y’all’s tributes, and they are quite extensive. I’m impressed.

    One thing that disturbs me about the tributes…. many people posted them weeks ago, and now they’re buried in the “basements” of their blogs.

    Comment by Kate — September 9, 2006 @ 11:07

  6. If that’s the case, they should sticky them, or repost. I thought about stickying mine, but if I unsticky it, the link url would be changed and anyone who had linked to it will get a “not found”.


    I am greatly impressed by what you did manage to say with so little information to work with. Kudos to you for writing such a thoughtful, reflective post. You did good. God bless Martin Morales Zempoaltecatl and his family.

    Comment by The WordSmith from Nantucket — September 9, 2006 @ 9:00

  7. Thank you sir. I wanted to know so much more, and won’t give up looking, but odds are, I won’t come across much more. 😦

    Comment by Kate — September 9, 2006 @ 9:09

  8. Beautifully, wonderfully done! He was so young….

    I am up here, if you care to visit.

    Comment by pepektheassassin — September 9, 2006 @ 9:50

  9. I was fortunate to draw a firefighter, so of course there was plenty of information about him. But I so admire those of you who couldn’t find much information, and yet you were able to to a fitting tribute. God bless you.

    To me, being able to be a part of the 2,996 Project has been the most meaningful thing I’ve ever done on my journal.

    Comment by Donna — September 9, 2006 @ 9:51

  10. I have spent a good bit of the evening reading tributes written by many other bloggers, and I don’t think I can read many more. My heart is being ripped out, and my anger is growing that so many died because of the ideology of animals.

    Donna, I couldn’t find a link to your tribute.

    Pepek, I know I would have liked David.

    Comment by Kate — September 9, 2006 @ 10:05

  11. Thank you for your dedication!

    I will also remember Martin Morales Zempoaltecatl and his family!

    Comment by Pet Campbell — September 10, 2006 @ 7:28

  12. This was a really great thing to read, Kate!

    Very touching, very real.

    Comment by Ally — September 10, 2006 @ 7:28

  13. You certainly had a tough assignment it appears to properly give tribute to Martin Morales Zempoaltecatl. You never gave up and your research is to be commended. Very well done, and yes may he rest in the loving arms of the Lord. God Bless.

    Comment by Gunz — September 10, 2006 @ 12:47

  14. Nicely done, Kate. Your last paragraph below the photo was spot on.

    The Big Pilot

    (The AB echos my sentiments…he asked me to pass them on since he doesn’t have a Blogger Account.)

    Comment by The Big Pilot — September 10, 2006 @ 11:36

  15. The AB? 🙂

    Comment by Kate — September 10, 2006 @ 11:39

  16. Great tribute Kate. I’ve been trying to read as many of them as I can. Your’s was both informative,and very personal. Here is a young man who had his whole life in front of him cut down before he even had a chance to make an impact on the world. Very sad.

    Comment by The Angry American — September 11, 2006 @ 7:28

  17. Sigh….

    Tribute to Christopher Paul Slattery

    Comment by Pentha — September 11, 2006 @ 7:29

  18. Yes ma’am Pentha… I already had Christopher added to my list of a few tributes I’ve read. I don’t know how many more I can read. I’m especially moved by the ones that tell of a future that will never be and about families trying to heal. This is going to be a tough day.

    Thanks AA, I’m still annoyed I can’t find more info. The town where he was born isn’t even on Wikipedia.

    Comment by Kate — September 11, 2006 @ 7:49

    • The town where Martin was born is in an nieghboring state from where I live in the state of Mexico. Martin was born in Santa Catarina, Tlaxcala I tried to use google maps and found the name “Zempoaltecatl” very popular and made several phone calls but nobody knows the family. I have a mass said for Martin every month and today 9-11-16 is a sunday. I called the local TV station and they were interested and in interviewing me later today, but I have not recieved there phone call which is 11/2 hours late.

      Martin was on the same road my father was on, my father opened six mexican restaurants in CA. This oportunity was taken away from Martin. I’ll keep digging here in mexico for more information and gladly post anything I find. God bless America and God bless Martin and his family

      Comment by Juan Carlos Lepe — September 11, 2016 @ 11:43

  19. It’s a beautiful tribute to Martin, Kate.

    It tears me up that this young man’s life was taken away.

    How can people devote their lives to killing innocents? How can they do that? How can they think that it will please God to kill themselves so they can kill someone like Martin?

    The senselessness of the attacks, all the heartbreak they caused–

    It’s too much.

    Comment by Mary — September 12, 2006 @ 6:59

  20. this is my uncle…he was kind sweet and all the things this person has mentioned… i don’t really remember that well -i do remember- just which to forget that hes gone… i was only in the fourth grade, that i remember and that that day was one of the most saddest day in my families life… i do remember his phone call but i think the call got disconnected… i really don’t remember… but i do remember the horrifying tears… i do watch these 9/11 videos on youtube and hoping i would see him running off but i never saw that happening… now i’m in the 11 grade still watching the youtube videos still hoping seeing him somwhere in there… D.N. =/

    Comment by diana... — August 19, 2008 @ 4:23

  21. Hi! I’m not sure whether you’ve managed to find out more about this young man, but I thought I should post the meaning of his last name, in case you haven’t found out already. His name is of Nahuatl origin; one of the indigenous populations & languages of Mexico, also originally spoken by the Aztecs, or, the “Mexica,” as they called themselves. “Zempoalli” represents the number ’20’, and “tecatl” is the noun for “individual,” “man,” or “person.” So, literally, his name could be translated as “group of 20.” As to what this translation represents; I can’t be too sure.

    Diana, perhaps you could ask your mother, or grandmother, if they know more about the origin of his name. It could provide an insight into the family background. Instead of “tecatl,” it might have been “tekpatl,” but was changed over the years. “Tekpatl” would make more sense, as ’20 tekpatl’ is an actual date on the Aztec calendar, and it’s very common for Nahuatl names to represent birth years or significant dates.

    I only know this because I was interested in learning more about my own roots, and started learning a bit of Nahuatl. “Zempoalli” and “tecatl” are pretty basic words, and I was rather surprised when I could actually understand his last name, which was listed on the 9/11 Memorial Service in New York this morning. I just felt I needed to find out more about him, and found your blog. So, this is my little contribution in Martin’s memory.

    Comment by Dominique — September 11, 2008 @ 11:43

  22. Martin was also my uncle. & as my cousin mentioned he was a very kind person.No he didnt have any kids.but he had us,his family.i was a bit yonger that my cousin when this happened,7 years at the time. & i can still remember all the comosion on the news even though i wasnt in new york at the time.its still very painful wen it comes to every memorial and i see those images in the 9th grade now but i’ll never forget my loving uncle.i just wish he wouldnt have been there on that day….
    and the person who wrote the article,if you would like to know more about my uncle you can e-mail me in my e-mail adress.
    & like i said i will never forget my uncle.

    Comment by cynthia — September 11, 2008 @ 5:01

    • Dear cyinthia I would like to know if you have any relatives in Tlaxcala which isn’t very far from me 2-3 hour drive. I always wanted to find some of his relatives so I could invite them to his mass which I have one every month. If you can help with any infomation I would be very grateful. My e-mail is

      Comment by Juan Carlos Lepe — September 11, 2016 @ 11:55

  23. Martin Morales Zempotecatl is of Spanish and Aztec Native American via Siberia.

    Comment by V.E.G. — August 22, 2010 @ 2:05

  24. Dios le bendiga la familia del Sr. Zempotecatl. No conocia a el, pero en este dia le recuerdo.

    God bless the family of MR. Zempotecatl. I did not know him personally, but on this day I remember him.

    Comment by Cristy — September 10, 2010 @ 9:57

  25. Martin Morales Zempoatecatl’s father is Mexican with Spanish blood, while his mother is a Mexican Indian woman.

    Comment by V.E.G. — September 12, 2011 @ 4:16

  26. Thankyou for everything you said its been so Long since we lost our uncle I miss him so much…. He didnt get see my babys grow up and there’s times when I need him more than anything in this world…

    Comment by Leticia morales — September 9, 2012 @ 8:41

  27. This page certainly has all the information I needed about
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    Comment by dentist london — March 26, 2014 @ 10:08

  28. I am regular visitor, how are you everybody? This piece of writing
    posted at this website is truly nice.

    Comment by Sheena — August 21, 2014 @ 7:31

  29. It’s been almost 14 years since you’ve been gone. I remember having dreams about you looking out into the water, and those dreams no longer occur. I can’t deny that I miss you along with the rest of the family. Yet, I’m sure you’re in a happier place. We’re all so grown up now, I just wish you could’ve been here to see. We love you tio, rest in peace and watch over us where ever you are.

    Comment by Cyn — May 13, 2015 @ 11:13

  30. May he rest in peace on this, the fifteenth anniversary of the tragedy. Que descanse en paz en este día, el decimoquinto aniversario de la tragedia.

    Comment by barefootviolinist — September 11, 2016 @ 12:56

  31. […] who aren’t bonkers, but the others are just fine. Named for 9/11 Victim: I was named for Martin Morales Zempoaltecatl. History: I was abandoned by my owners in the cold when they moved. I kept scratching on the door […]

    Pingback by Zempo – — July 23, 2017 @ 4:42

  32. Hola!!
    I’m from Tlaxcala, Mexico and I’m 20 minutes from Santa Catarina, small and poor village in the state. I wanna help to start a investigation about the life of this young man.
    Please, send me a email.

    Alfredo M.

    Comment by Alfredo M. — September 16, 2017 @ 9:57

    • I’ll be in touch soon.

      Comment by lepesf — September 16, 2017 @ 11:24

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