Barracato, who was recently interviewed for Russian media about his experiences in helping to get the moment placed, talked about the process with the Bayonne Community News early in November.
"Tsereteli wanted it for the World Trade Center site until he actually got there," Barracato said. "But he said the place was too much like a tomb and started to look around for another location."
The monument, which was to be a gift to the United States from the people of Russia, was then proposed for the Jersey City waterfront and became a political football, partly because the monument was strongly supported by then Jersey City Mayor Glenn Cunningham. When politics and the Jersey City artists rejected the monument, Bayonne welcomed it with open arms.
Barracato, who has worked for several campaigns in Hudson County as a political consultant, said he and others tried to avoid using political clout to get the monument placed.
"The two biggest supporters of the monument in Jersey City were Mayor Cunningham and his wife, Sandy," Barracato said.
But he praised people like Jersey City Councilmembers Steve Lipski and Viola Richardson for fighting to keep the monument in Jersey City.
"Willie Flood was also very supportive, and when we couldn't get it on the council agenda for a vote, Mary Donnelly helped us," he said.
Other strong voices such as current Freeholder Jeff Dublin and current Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop supported the monument, despite the political backlash.
Barracato said Jersey City artists working downtown were the biggest detractors, fighting hard and using every ounce of political clout to keep the monument out of Jersey City.
"Once Bayonne Mayor Joseph Doria heard Jersey City didn't want the monument, he began to lobby to get it," Barracato said. "Doria did what he does well. He got the community involved in the decision. He is remarkably organized."
Doria also paid homage to Cunningham by making certain that the deceased Jersey City Mayor's name remained associated with the monument, despite its new location in Bayonne.
Barracato said the monument is larger in symbolic meaning than municipal borders. It is a tribute on an international level, and because it is very near Jersey City, it remains part of Cunningham's legacy.
"This was Glenn Cunningham's dream and Doria fulfilled it," Barracato said. "To tell you the truth, the Bayonne location makes more sense. While I worked to get it in Jersey City, the monument located at the former Military Ocean Terminal stands out in a way it would not have in Jersey City or New York. Where it is now, makes it stand out, and it becomes a natural stop for people who are traveling from Ellis Island to the Statue of Liberty. They'll just keep coming south to see the monument."
The monument fills in a missing piece in the New York Harbor mosaic, by showing people what the price of freedom is.
Barracato said former President Bill Clinton - a friend of Tsereteli was a strong supporter of the monument, but it was Susan Tomases, a closest friend and an advisor to Clinton and his wife, U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton that worked behind the scenes to get the monument place.
"Susan is brilliant," Barracato said. "She has a way of making you look at things differently, as if they are going to happen, not what if they will happen."
Barracato, prior to the unveiling ceremony on Sept. 11, had a few moments to speak with President Clinton, and recalled how pleased Clinton was about coming.
"He said this was a great place for the monument to be, and liked the way it lined up with where the World Trade Center towers stood," Barracato said.
Barracato, a resident of Weehawken, was also pleased to see his home town mayor at the ceremony.
"I think seeing the monument for Richard Turner must have been a very moving moment, because Weehawken played such a vital role after the attacks on 9/11," Barracato said.
Russian media asked Barracato how he would like his role in placing the monument to be remembered, he said, "History writes itself. This was something good for me. My family came through Ellis Island. Now I helped place a monument that will be part of that tradition on the harbor."