Volume 73, Number 5 | June 2 - 8, 2004

Keep on truckin’ — never forget

Mooki Barda’s tow truck is a familiar sight tooling up and down the West Side Highway, American flags aflutter on poles. Barda, whose truck’s hood bears a Twin Towers logo, flanked by the date “9 11” and the words “Never Forget,” says he knew 11 people who died in the World Trade Center in the terrorist attack and that each flag on his truck represents one of them. Four of them were firefighters, two based in the East Village, where Barda, 49 — seen here recently at Spring St. — used to work at a tow garage on E. Houston St. and Avenue B. The other seven were friends who worked in the Trade Center, where Barda, an Israeli native, frequently responded to calls for a tow.

Right after the attack, Barda put 53 flags on his truck — “One for each state.” Fifty-three? “And Puerto Rico, no?” he said with a grin. But he’s always been a flag fan. Before 9/11, he had two on his truck, one on each side, in front. But he said one time a police officer told him he could only have one, and chased him with a siren blaring to give him a ticket for it after Barda had drove off in disbelief. Since 9/11, though, he only gets thumbs up and “right on” fists and appreciative honks from fellow motorists.

He changes the flags religiously every Friday, putting up 11 new ones. “Never Forget” means exactly that to him. He says the flags will stay on his truck forever.

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