War and remembrance
On the anniversary of September 11, we’ve asked dozens of people -- from senior financial services executives headquartered at Ground Zero to survivors of the attacks to members of the victims’ families -- to tell us what that dreadful day means to them one year later.
THE TELEVISION NETWORKS SAY THAT THEY WILL EXERCISE RESTRAINT AND not show the most horrifying footage of last year’s terrorist outrage on the anniversary of September 11. Nevertheless, that day and its terrible images remain fixed in the national consciousness and subconscious. We watched for days, transfixed -- in almost obscene fascination -- as a plane disappeared into Tower Two again and again, from one angle after another. We watched the towers collapse onto themselves, as thousands fled and thousands perished. We watched over and over.
The images have seeped into our collective memory, as have others over time: the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger; the rooftop evacuation of the Saigon embassy; and, most hauntingly, the shooting of a young president in Dallas. Most Americans over 40 know exactly where they were when they heard the news of JFK’s assassination on that November afternoon nearly four decades ago. Just so do we know today where we were and what we were doing on the morning of September 11, 2001.
Implicit in knowing where you are is knowing who you are. Over the past year we have had ample opportunity to wonder who we are as individuals and as a people. We have witnessed extraordinary examples of heroism, of dignity and grace, which redeemed at least some small part of that awful day. Enduring scenes of valor -- firefighters forging into the towers, policemen leading survivors out -- hallowed September 11. But of late we have seen petty acts of cowardice and knavery: policemen leading businessmen out of their homes and offices in handcuffs.
All of these images, good and bad, are intimately connected in a world turned upside down, our military and economic security compromised, the sense of invulnerability that we took for granted, exulted in, throughout the heedless ‘90s, shattered. After the terrorist attacks shut them down for four days, the markets, which had been sagging since March 2000, plunged, beginning a long year of intense volatility. The heroism and acts of honor that we saw on 9/11 and in the days that followed have only underscored the baseness of much of the corporate conduct that has come to light since then -- helping to fuel citizens’ outrage against business executives who have abused their privileges.
Of course, for many people, September 11 was not a matter of image but of substance. Lives ended, lives changed, for no reason that made any sense.
In the following pages we’ve asked dozens of people from many walks of life -- from senior financial services executives headquartered at Ground Zero to survivors of the attacks to members of the victims’ families -- to tell us what that dreadful day means to them one year later. What effect did it have on their lives? How did it alter their ways of thinking and behaving?
For some, the change has been transforming. Kevin Mincio quit a lucrative job as a Goldman, Sachs & Co. banker to enlist, at 31, in the U.S. Army. John Henley left his job at Pershing Securities to become a New York City firefighter. For others, the change has been less surprising but even more wrenching: Among them are widows like Amy Eberling, whose husband, Dean, worked as a security analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and whose daughter Lauren celebrates her birthday on September 11.
For still others, the terrorist attacks produced a profound change of view. Richard Fuld Jr., the chairman of Lehman Brothers, found that he had to reassure anxious employees as well as contend with a severely damaged headquarters building. Staring out at 1,200 Lehman staffers gathered at the Sheraton Hotel a few days after the Twin Towers collapsed, he had an epiphany: “I thought, ‘Oh my God -- they are mine.’”
Fuld adds that September 11 “gives you a different perspective as to what you really think about when you wake up every day. A lot of the petty stuff has gone away.”
Heroism took many forms on September 11. But for all the spouses and children and siblings and parents of the victims, getting through that horrible day -- and every day since -- has been a special act of bravery.
Specialist, U.S. Army, second battalion, 19th Infantry, Fort Benning, Ga.
Mincio was a banker with Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Growing up on Long Island, I always had military aspirations. My plan was to go to West Point, but I wound up going to the University of Connecticut to play lacrosse. I intended to enlist in the air force after I graduated, but I got a job at Goldman Sachs. I worked there for nine years. Most recently, I was a v.p. doing investment banking on the technology side. I loved the job, and I loved the people I worked with, but that day changed everything for me. For the first few months after the attacks, I spent a lot of time working on disaster recovery. By Christmas I was pretty sure that I was going to enlist. My bosses at Goldman were right behind me on my decision. I’d talked about this at length with [co-head of global investment banking] Mac Heller, who was one of the guys I worked for but who is no longer there. We used to work out in the gym, and he told me he would stand behind me. I enlisted on February 21.
Fort Benning is a totally different world from the one I left on Wall Street. I came here on May 23 for infantry training. It’s grueling -- the toughest thing I’ve ever done. My rank is specialist, and that’s what it will be until I’m told otherwise. My next stop is Fort Lewis in Washington State. I go September 20. There is a Ranger battalion there, and most likely I will go to Ranger school.
I wasn’t in the towers that day. No one I know was killed. I know doing this is going to make me a better person, but if you ask me why I enlisted, it’s pretty simple: September 11. That was all the motivation I needed.
CEO, Cantor Fitzgerald, ESpeed
Headquartered in Tower One, Cantor lost 658 of 970 employees
We had made a decision after the 1993 terrorist attack to change the company. We wanted to be a place where we were partners with people we truly liked. So we began a policy where we told our managers to go ahead and hire people they liked. If they could successfully manage the people, they were encouraged to hire friends and family members. That’s why you saw at Cantor a huge Rockaway crowd, a huge Garden City crowd, a huge Red Bank Rumson crowd, Morristown. We lost 20 sets of brothers on September 11, and that excludes the fact that I’m alive and I lost my brother. It was this personal level on which we ran the company that created the intense kind of pain that you see throughout the survivors at Cantor. September 11 changed the purpose of this business. Business became even more personal. I don’t think there’s anybody at the firm who didn’t lose their best friend or a family member. You just go down the list. Lee Amaitis, our chief operating officer, lost his two best friends. Stu Fraser, our vice chairman, lost his brother-in-law. Phil Marber, who runs our equity business, lost his best friend. That’s why our people decided they were going to be superhuman in their efforts to rebuild the company, for the purpose of helping the families of their friends. Our people carried on because they all felt that they wanted to do something to help. This is where they got the strength to work, through hundreds of memorial services, working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, sleeping on cots for a couple of hours and then getting up and making sure the firm could carry on.
We don’t need reminders. It is a part of us. It will remain a part of us. One year later our energy level and our commitment has not changed. If anything, it has redoubled. Our surviving employees have seen for themselves how they can achieve the most remarkable of feats. That has empowered us to carry on.
Firefighter, New York Fire Department
Henley was a sales vice president for Pershing Securities
Growing up in Breezy Point [in Queens], a lot of guys you knew either became firemen or worked on Wall Street. Most of my friends got jobs in the city; a lot of guys worked at Cantor. My best friend since I was two years old, Matt Burke, worked at Cantor. He was among those killed on 9/11. I was never sure what I wanted to do. I had done the dot-com thing in 1997, then I worked on Wall Street, at Credit Suisse First Boston, for a while. I took the written exam to become a firefighter in 1998. I remember thinking, “Might as well, who knows what you’re going to be doing in three years.” At the time, I was working in the private client unit at CSFB on an online wealth management product. When CSFB bought Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, my whole group was sort of scrapped, but they found jobs for us within the company. I ended up at Pershing in Jersey City.
A few weeks after September 11, a friend of mine who also took the FDNY test told me to get in shape because so many firemen were lost that day, they were going to be calling up a ton of people. I was number 1,412 in 1998, probably out of 7,000 or 8,000. Around November I got a letter from the Fire Department notifying me that they wanted me to take a physical test, then a psychological. They tell you, “Don’t quit your job, because there’s still a waiting period,” but I knew right away that if I made it, I was definitely going in.
My official rank these days is Firefighter Henley, although my probation doesn’t end until January. I am officially assigned to Engine Co. 233 in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Some of it has to do with Matty. And with all of the firefighters that died, a lot of them from my neighborhood. Maybe I’m trying to do something to honor them in some way, but it’s more than that. I mean, the city needed firemen.
Richard Fuld Jr.
Chairman and CEO, Lehman Brothers
Headquartered at the World Financial Center, Lehman lost one of approximately 6,000 employees
My daughter Jackie, who is 21, went to Florence for an art study program. I took her on a Friday, and I set her up, and then I traveled around Europe visiting clients for four days. While I was traveling, the terrorists announced they were going after four cities -- one was Florence. I turned around and went back, and I took her and her friends home. She had fought like a dog to get into that program. Everyone thinks about the world differently. My son asks me what kind of security I have. I walk out of the building, and I look left and I look right. I am more aware now.
When you went down to our building after the attacks, the first thing you do is walk through the lobby, which is the morgue. The second thing you do is walk up to our brand new trading floor, and the sides are blown out. The third thing you do is you look out the windows: All our trading floors face south, and I was sure that my people would be seeing the trade towers with people coming out of the windows. So that afternoon I called the board, and I said, “Get yourselves ready to take a $500 million write-off, because we are not going back to the building.” They signed off, and then we bought the Morgan Stanley building.
Brad Jack [then head of investment banking, now co-COO] asked me to come talk to some of the employees a few days after the attack. Then he said, “Forget it, come talk to the senior management team.” When I arrived at the Sheraton, he said, “The plan’s changed again.” I thought it would be five or six of us just trying to grapple with the issues. I walk into the room, and there are 1,200 people. I looked at them, and I thought, “Oh my God -- they are mine.”
The firm went through a very difficult time that pulled us very close together. We lost our building -- 6,400 of our people didn’t have seats. We very quickly brought everybody that was on the West Coast home on a bus. We put 1,200 people in a hotel, we overloaded our building in New Jersey, and we had people spread over 35 locations in the city and some 2,000-odd people at home. But we maintained connectivity, and we had the second-best year we’ve ever had. And the firm got a lot of truly deserved acclaim in the marketplace, from clients and customers, and from that standpoint I think we came out stronger.
But at the end of the day, we lost an employee, and 15 of my people lost direct family members, and everybody in the firm felt that. It gives you a different view as to what you really think about when you wake up every day. A lot of the petty stuff has gone away. Nobody’s bitching and moaning about compensation, about advancement. They say, “This is a great place to be, and the firm took care of me, the firm’s doing the right thing.”
U.S. Representative for the State of Louisiana
Chairman, House subcommittee on capital markets, insurance and government-sponsored enterprises
Every American has this nagging sense of vulnerability. All of us, whether you are sitting in the LSU stadium on Saturday night with 80,000 people, or whether you are in an airplane headed to wherever, it’s an ever-present thought. At the same time, it has been rather extraordinary how resilient not only the American spirit but also our capital markets and our economic system have been. I can’t imagine any other economy in the world sustaining the events of 9/11 and all of the corporate difficulties we’ve experienced over the past six months and still having a market that is in the condition that ours is in today. Now certainly we’ve had some negative developments, but the fact that the market averages are trading where they are right now is an incredible compliment to the strength and resilience of all participants in the process.
I’ve gained a new consciousness of law enforcement, firemen, military personnel. The people who stormed into those buildings were exhibiting the highest standard of ethical and moral commitment to this country: Notwithstanding any apparent identifiable risks, they went in and did their jobs as professionals. On the other hand, the folks involved in these corporate improprieties represent the antithesis of what we think of as America. And I think many of us resent that the people who have the privilege and opportunity to command such vast fortunes and affect so many lives have taken a rare opportunity and so poorly used it. It’s more than just anger at losing money. It’s a real, basic disappointment that the system has been abused so badly. We have the greatest appreciation for the guys who are making $30,000 a year running into collapsing buildings, and you turn around and see what folks who are making $3 million or $30 million or $300 million a year were doing with their opportunity. It engenders a great deal of bitterness among the American people.
Chief investment officer, Berg Capital
Friends Ivory & Sime, where Bloom was chief of equity, was headquartered in Tower One
After the president gave his speech a few days after September 11, my son called me and asked, “Dad, did you see the speech?” and I told him I would call him back. I literally couldn’t talk. That has happened to me several times since then, once a couple of months ago while I was luncheon speaker at the Rotary Club out in Stony Brook. At the end of my prepared remarks about the economy and the stock market, somebody asked me about 9/11. I got about two or three sentences out, and then I said, “I really can’t talk any more.” I worked at Friends Ivory & Sime for 15 years and never missed one day. I was in at 7:00 in the morning and often there until 7:00, 8:00 at night. So I suppose that would make me sort of a workaholic. But since 9/11 I’ve tried to make more time for the people I care most about.
Myself and all of my fellow employees got out safe and sound, so that is the good news, but it can give you a complex: “How did I get so lucky?” Even though I lost friends on that day, I didn’t lose anybody that I was responsible for, nor any family. Not everyone can say that, and you think about that all the time. I think about feelings of patriotism as we mark the terrible anniversary, but mainly I just feel lucky to be alive.
Chairman, Lower Manhattan Development Corp.
This is not what I thought I’d be doing in my 80s [see “Back to the Drawing Board,” page 80]. The governor described this as a ten-year project when he asked me to head it. I told him, “I’m sure you don’t want me down there in my wheelchair, pointing my cane and saying, ‘Governor, you should’ve built that building here and not over there.’” I’d hoped to be able to reduce my commitments to all kinds of activities and spend more time with my children and grandchildren and friends. Instead, I open up my briefcase and do my homework for the next day. That said, I’m invigorated by the complexity of the problem. This is the most difficult problem I’ve ever had placed before me.
The level of patriotism is higher than I have seen it since World War II. I’m glad that feeling exists as far as the work I’m involved in, because it is easier to get cooperation. You can just say to someone, “Look, you remember what we’re doing here. We’re rebuilding after this terrible tragedy. Let’s get together, let’s not fight each other. Let’s keep it moving.” That’s why the cleanup proceeded so quickly and cost less than half what it was supposed to cost, because of the spirit. During the cleanup, people came to work early, unpaid, so that they would overlap with the guy whose shift they were taking and pick up his shovel the minute he left.
I can go down to our offices any night at 10:00 and there is staff there, working. Every night, including weekends. They are that dedicated. It’s truly wonderful.
Senior managing principal, Sandler O’Neill & Partners
Headquartered in Tower Two, Sandler O’Neill lost 66 of 171 employees
I have not learned anything from a group of terrorists who acted in a cowardly fashion to harm innocent people. I’m proud to say that my priorities have not changed one iota from September 10 to September 11. The intensity of my priorities is greater now. The things that were important to us before September 11 -- friends, family, faith, firm -- were very important before September 11, and they’re even more important now. When I put my kids to bed before September 11, I knew it was a privilege, I knew how lucky I was. When I hug them now, I know that Chris [Quackenbush, investment banking chief, who was killed] can’t hug his. All of the initial overwhelming things and the financial issues -- I can see the light at the end of the tunnel on them for the families. What I worry about is life for that ten- or 12-year-old girl who is without her father. That’s on my mind all the time. I worry sometimes even when they see me -- does it make it worse for them? Because it reminds them I’m here, but their father is not.
I think a lot of these children are going to have to live with the same thing that John or Caroline Kennedy did. Their father’s death was something seen on TV and was a highly publicized event. This is going to get even more exposure than that. It is going to be part of their development, it will be part of who they are. It is also part of who we are. I didn’t lose a child, and my children didn’t lose a parent. That’s a level of attachment to this tragedy that is bigger than the one I have. But for this firm, our goal is to create something impressive, professional, honorable, a force. Those elements would have been there pre-9/11. But those elements were also fostered in the fires from 9/11.
Reverend Samuel Johnson Howard
Vicar, Trinity Church
In the weeks immediately after September 11, our buildings here were cordoned off. By about late November or early December, we got back into Trinity Church. We saw both our weekday and our Sunday attendance dip slightly, and now they’re rebounding. The number of tourists, though -- people who come into the church either to tour it or to sit down and pray -- has been consistently growing since downtown opened back up. We have a large staff preparing for Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel to become pilgrimage sites. I felt during the months after September 11 -- and I still feel -- a realization that I can’t get by and do the work that I’m supposed to do without the grace of God. And I’m amazed at how many people from the Street and the business community are telling me the same thing as we talk in the church or as they come to see me for counseling. Wealth and the sheer accumulation of more wealth may well become less important, and spiritual issues may be increasing in importance for those people. In our scripture, Jesus never condemns wealth, he talks about the difficulties that wealth can create in one’s life. As I meet with and talk with people from Wall Street and other business leaders, I see an increased recognition of that.
I live two blocks south of the World Trade Center and witnessed the events of that morning from my bedroom window. I walked by the World Trade Center every day of my life. I went into the mall beneath it and shopped. I ate in it. I visited people in offices there. I thought it would always be there. And yet now it isn’t. The one thing that remains is God, and God’s grace and mercy. That cannot be removed, even when these large buildings that were such a part of my life have been.
A lot of us thought we were going to die that day. A lot of us were very close to everything that happened and saw people dying. You begin to realize that there are eternal issues, that God calls us to live our lives from day to day and to focus on the future and to care for one another, rather than to be afraid. The single thing that Jesus says more than anything else is, “Fear not.”
Chairman and CEO, American Stock Exchange
We had geared up for a major defection of people not wanting to come back, considering that we were directly hit, we were directly damaged, we lost nine of our members and affiliated members. For three months we were the only building around here with people in it. This area was all fenced off, covered by the army and the police. We had to get special clearance to let people just walk in the area. Our people were literally the only people in the whole restricted zone. Do you know how depressing that was? You look out and you see destruction. And debris. And police and rescue workers. The smell of death. That’s what we were smelling. We had to put special filters on the building so we didn’t have the smell. It was horrible. And even with that, people still stuck together. Very few decided not to come back. Maybe a handful. Some left the city. Others were moms who decided to stay home with their kids. But almost everyone came back, and they helped each other even more than they did in the past. People worked almost 24 hours a day. We didn’t ask them to do that. They just knew it had to get done.
It was incredibly difficult. We had to take our technology, our people, and move into the New York Stock Exchange space so we could do our equity and exchange-traded fund business. Simultaneously, we had to take our options business and move it to Philadelphia. We had to reassure our employees. We had to communicate with our customers, our listed companies. We had to build an additional backup center in case something happened again. We had to coordinate with global order-flow providers, the core membership. It was unbelievable. Somehow we got the thing running in four days. We learned that we can pretty much handle whatever is thrown at us. I almost still can’t figure out how it got done. If you would have said to me before, “Is this doable?” I would have said, “You belong in an insane asylum.”
Chairman and CEO, Fiduciary Trust Co. International
Headquartered in Tower Two, Fiduciary lost 87 of 647 employees
In certain ways, 9/11 is still very unreal. That it actually could have happened, the scope of it, the magnitude, the sheer swiftness with which the world changed. Many of my closest friends within the firm were killed. Clearly, it marks the darkest day in my life. What makes it all the more difficult to get over is the fact that -- and this is something I think about a lot -- none of these people did anything to provoke this. We’ve all been scarred by this, because 9/11 is a part of us for the rest of our lives. We try to use the energy, this resilience we’ve all had to conjure from within ourselves the past year, and use it in a productive fashion.
In the past year we have crossed into a very challenging economic and political environment, because you not only have the economic dimensions of what’s happening, but people have clearly lost faith in the system. Anything that breeds uncertainty breeds a choppy market, and a downward choppiness at that.
It’s funny how all of these other things have come out at the same time, the crisis in the church, the crisis with financial institutions. Faith and trust are the most important underpinnings. You don’t have strong facts with religion -- it’s all faith. With corporate America, it’s all about the integrity of the numbers, and we have seen that stripped away in public fashion.
As far as physical security, I personally will never feel as secure as I did in the past. There was a freeness about our lives: It just seemed as though if we acted responsibly, we were secure to go our way in a carefree, untangled, unanchored fashion, and today I think it’s different. We can’t control our security to the degree we’d like.
Chairman and CEO, Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley was the World Trade Center’s biggest tenant. Of 3,700 employees on multiple floors in both towers, 13 perished
To me 9/11 means the bravery of ordinary people, the caring of ordinary people. You expect it from people like the police and the firemen. But we had somebody carry another person down 66 flights of stairs. We had all kinds of stories like that. It makes you feel great about the people you work with every day. It made us understand the value of preparation. We were extremely well prepared -- that’s why we had the result we did. Other than the people’s performance, the preparation is what helped us get virtually everybody out. We had organized ourselves in the event of another terrorist attack since ’93. We had had people marching down stairs and doing things people thought were nuts. We had an awful lot of backup that people would say was profligate spending. And now, looking back, everybody would say you’ve got to have different kinds of backup than we in the past thought were appropriate, and more of it.
We’ve learned that you should not have all of your critical trading people in the same location. We didn’t learn that personally as much as we did observing others. You’ve got to have live trading somewhere else -- not just the kind of backup most people have had historically, a data center that would keep the computers running and that you would test every six months or so, but “hot” backup that is live every day. You need to have two sites live, all the time.
I was born and brought up in Utah, and Utah is a pretty flag-waving state. And I’ve lived out of the country. Those two things make you pretty patriotic. But 9/11 brought home the vulnerability in your own country to an attack. And I think that is very different than just being patriotic. There’s actually a real threat that I think most of us had dismissed.
It puts a lot of things in perspective. Everybody I know who has been directly hit by this who is a serious business person is much more concerned about taking care of their people than they were -- and gets much less upset about run-of-the-mill cares in the business environment. Maybe the market decline isn’t a good example, because that’s big enough to care about. But stuff that you used to get all twisted in knots about, at least for me, I don’t get twisted in knots about anymore.
Mechanic, Continental Express
Bautista’s wife, Marilyn, an accounts payable clerk, was one of 295 people killed at at Marsh & McLennan Cos. in Tower One
Since 9/11 it’s very quiet. Everything that we used to do together, I am doing by myself. Every time I came home from work she would be in bed, and I would put my arms around her and kiss her on the forehead and touch her hand, put her hands on my chest when I lay down. I’m trying to get used to the loneliness. We used to go to church every Sunday. During the service, she would always hold my hand. I miss that very much. The congregation will have an oil painting of all the victims this coming September 11. Four people in the congregation were killed, I think.
I had three family members on the same floor. My wife and her sisters, Connie and Pina. Pina was there at 8:25, and she decided to go to Mass. She checked her e-mail and went to Mass. Connie was coming in late, she missed the Path train she was supposed to take. My wife is always early -- she wanted to be ahead of everyone.
I went back with them to the Philippines to celebrate the first anniversary of my wife’s death. Because I couldn’t take vacation in September, we had the first anniversary on the 20th of July in her hometown, Dagupan. It’s where she grew up. Everybody knows each other; it’s a big family. All her friends from childhood and aunts and grandparents. It was a big celebration -- about 200 people. My sister-in-law read. I could not get up to the podium and talk about her. My wife wanted to go home this year.
CIO, Morgan Stanley Investment Management
You could argue that 9/11 set off an unfortunate chain reaction of distrust. We’ve seen many of the pillars of our society start to crumble around us, none more severely than Wall Street. I suppose if they strike, Major League Baseball will be next to fall. You had the scandal with the church. It’s just gotten so people have a hard time putting faith in anything anymore. September 11 was a wake-up call. What Enron was able to get away with all those years, the market said, “No more.” I look at myself, the way I respond to poor performance, whether it’s my kids or the portfolio managers working for me, and I find I have far less tolerance. If I have to ask for something three or four times, I don’t know, sometimes I snap. For some reason, since that day. . . I myself made some very poor decisions that day -- riding down in the elevator to 44 was one -- but thankfully, I got home safe. Thirteen of my fellow employees did not. But since that day I just find I can’t tolerate any B.S. from anybody.
Vice president, facilities, Euro Brokers
Fern is one of only four people above the 78th floor of Tower Two, where the plane hit floors 78 84, known to have survived
Over here on the water, they have the barges with the debris and steel from the trade center, and one morning -- we were probably two weeks into business, and we had quite a few people upstairs -- they must have dropped a beam into a barge. It sounded like a bomb went off. People ran to the windows. I was talking to my wife on the phone, and she was saying, “Get out of the building!” We lost 61 people. Being in my business, you know everybody, you interact with everybody. That was hard. But just coming back and being here -- everyone was helping, unboxing PCs, putting them on the desks -- helped me.
The memorial services were tough. I only went to a handful. Some people went to more, but I wasn’t able to. They were too tough to get through. My best friends, I went to those. After that it was just getting through the day.
The other day one of my co-workers, Jerry, I grabbed him under his armpits, and he started laughing, and it reminded me of José [Marrero]. He used to do it to us all the time -- when you weren’t paying attention, he would come up behind you and make you laugh -- and we both just looked at each other, and Jerry said, “You know, I remember José used to do that to us.” You see someone, and it reminds you of those people you lost. That’s Calvin [Dawson], that looks like Peter Fry -- the person looks like him or reminds you of them. It helps you remember all the good things about them.
You have a greater appreciation for life. You want to do more things. You just take the kids and go places: “Come on, let’s go. Let’s not waste any time.” We just got back from Hershey Park. The kids ask to go places, and I am more apt to spoil them.
Chairman and CEO, Maxcor Financial Group
Maxcor’s main subsidiary, Euro Brokers, lost 61 of 280 employees
After you’ve been through something like 9/11, there are things that are important and there are things that are not. The one thing I feel very strongly about is how well our company has done from a people standpoint -- forget business -- since 9/11. Fears you used to have, competitive fears, they’re unimportant. Each of our trading desks is like an army unit: the guy sitting across from you -- you’re dependent on him, he’s dependent on you. They’re more than just guys working together; they are guys that work together, party together, go out together. When we lost 61 people, we lost a big part of our family, and that has an enormous psychological effect on the entire company.
Ed Mardovich, who was the head of the repo desk and president of our securities company, came into my office in August 2001 and said that Ed Keslo was at one of our competitors and his contract was up and he was dissatisfied. Mardovich said, “Let’s hire this guy, ‘cause he’s the only guy that I feel comfortable could come in and run the repo business when I’m not here.” He started with us September 10. We lost Mardovich on 9/11, and Kes has done an incredible job. Our revenue levels exceed what they did.
This year we will close at noon on the 11th and have a service down at South Street Seaport for our employees and their families and any family member of those that were lost. We’ll honor the guys we lost and the guys that survived, but really, it will be a time to reflect and be together. I think it will be a very difficult day. But it will be good that we are together; we’ll derive strength from that. Do we have trepidation? Absolutely.
CEO, Credit Suisse First Boston
CSFB had 800 employees at Five World Trade Center; one perished
Even though New Yorkers have returned to the level of intensity they had before 9/11, it’s a softer city. Today they look you in the eye, almost as if to say, “Are you all right?” Especially down at this end of Manhattan. I’ve always been a patriot. But when I’m overseas and I see the American flag, I have more intensity in my feelings and they tend to come to the surface much more quickly.
But I really haven’t altered my routine. I sometimes think I’m being too casual, but it’s really hard to start looking over your shoulder. I do think we need to get our paranoia level up a little bit. Everything we read on a weekly basis, we know people are trying to harm us in other ways. That’s what’s changed: You begin to question where should you go in the city, especially when there are big events. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t think about that.
Internally at CFSB, 9/11 did accelerate the cultural change that we’re trying to make to create a one-firm atmosphere. It showed people that their individual silos are really not that important and that reaching out across the firm is important. [Right after 9/11] we had meetings three or four times a day where we would bring together a combination of IT, operations and the front office to talk about the status of our systems, what we’re doing, what the industry’s doing, how can we help the industry and when we could normalize the business.
I think people in this business are still very driven and very clearly focused on winning, but there is more balance to their lives.
At least in our firm, the amount of volunteerism has gone up dramatically. Employeee participation in fundraising and our foundation has been amazing. People want to do something. Christy, my wife, and I were talking two or three weeks after 9/11 and she said: “You know, you’re in there every day trying to get the markets open. The frustration that I have is that it’s hard for me to do something, and I want to do something.” So Christy has been in touch with a physician in Washington, who spent time in Bosnia, to work on posttraumatic stress syndrome with the firemen and their families here in New York City. The city has designated one senior fireman to work with this physician to help with the families. I think other people are doing things like that, and you just never hear about them.
CEO, Citigroup Asset Management
Citigroup, the firm’s parent company, lost six of some 16,000 employees working downtown
I had a friend who died that day. He was 38. He had a wife. He had two young boys, seven and five. I’d just seen him two days before at the U.S. Open tennis finals. So that image of alive one day, gone the next, seeing his wife and kids at the funeral, that really stays with me. I reflect upon how upset my wife was that morning because she couldn’t get through to me, didn’t know if I was okay. I’m always thinking about how she reacted when I finally called her just before 10:00 a.m., and then one by one talking to my kids, assuring them I was okay. I think a lot about how their lives would have been changed if I hadn’t made it out. I will never forget getting home that day and calling my daughter, a student at Georgetown, and telling her I was okay. It was very emotional. As we spoke she described the rising smoke in the distance coming from the Pentagon. I’m more aware of the need to maintain the proper balance between work and home. If the unthinkable ever happens, you want to feel like you did the best you could do.
September 11 shattered our sense of physical security and safety. Here we were in the U.S., in the safest country in the world, in New York City, going to work on a beautiful late-summer day, and 3,000 people don’t make it home to their families. And then our sense of economic and financial security began to shatter. Enron was just the first blow. We saw a combination of our physical and economic safety just shaken to the core, and it has been difficult to begin to reclaim it.
What we are going through right now is about as trying a business situation as I can think of. The most painful part of this is reputational: the constant impugning, the attempts to imply we’ve done something wrong. Other than your balance sheet, the most important thing you have is your reputation. It’s very stressful to become the target of choice for activists, politicians, regulators and anybody who wants a headline. But I find myself saying: “Put this in perspective: A little less than a year ago, we were dealing with September 11. So this too shall pass.”
Founder, September’s Mission, an advocacy group for victims’ families
Iken’s husband, Michael, a bond broker at Euro Brokers, worked on the 84th floor of Tower Two
Things are getting more difficult. It gets worse as time goes by, because I don’t have him. And I don’t have closure. When you don’t have something, it’s very difficult to let go. I said good-bye to my husband one morning, and he didn’t come home. Two thirds of us don’t have remains. That’s why the [Twin Towers’] footprints are sacred and hallowed space. I want to know where Tower Two stood so that I can visit him. I just want to know that there’s a place where we can go to heal from this nightmare.
This mission is my survival. I was crying all the time, and I heard Michael in my head saying: “What are you doing? Stop crying, get it together.” God took away my angel, but he told me to do this, that this was my mission. I’m always doing September’s Mission. I spend all my time on it. It’s all-consuming. I’m sad every day with the loss. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think or talk about September 11.
People ask me if I’m a better person than I was a year ago. To be honest with you, I’m a better person today for having known Michael. I’m grateful to God for giving me two years with him. He made you feel like you could do anything. He had that kind of energy. He made you feel like you were the most important person in the world.
I’m less patriotic. I just feel that our government let us down. I can’t feel good about America. It’s scary that a country as powerful as this country couldn’t prevent that from happening. After it happened, I was glued to the television, and I heard these guys from the CIA and the FBI saying, “We let the American people down.” How does that help me? That doesn’t make me feel better. The anger is building up among all of us, but I can’t let it distract me. Getting angry can eat you up alive, but I can’t let that happen.
Henry Paulson Jr.
Chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs Group
I remember looking at the first news reports and hearing the rumors that Morgan Stanley had lost a lot of people and fighting back tears, and I remember tears of joy when I heard that wasn’t true. Having not lost a single employee, our people wanted a memorial service for the people that were lost. When we had the service -- I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was -- we filled every seat in the auditorium. We had people calling in and participating from all around the world. I am very proud of the way our industry came back after that attack, the way people worked together. We were all trying to get the markets up and running -- so we were concerned about our competitors. We worked as if the industry was a single firm.
It was no accident that Osama bin Laden hit the World Trade Center. New York is the financial capital of the world, and he was aiming a real blow at the free-market economic system. There is no doubt that there are people out there who hate the system and the values that are a part of it. When I go around the world and see how antireformers and vested interests that don’t want change are using the corporate scandals in the U.S. as a tool against reform, there is no question that I am concerned.
Most events, no matter how big they first appear to be, usually over time seem smaller. September 11 will prove to be only bigger over time. Security, minimizing the threat of terrorism, will be the overarching theme, driving economic development and globalization. U.S. leadership will be more important than ever, but it won’t be just as an economic powerhouse but as an example of reform, positive change and even nation-building.
OTC trader, Fahnestock & Co.
There was a neighborhood friend from Breezy Point who got me a job at Cantor in ’97. Must be 20 or 25 guys came in to Cantor through him -- and he always looked out for us. He left about a year and a half before the tragedy. My brother began working for Cantor in June 2000. He sat right next to me. Charlie was only 23, but his career was taking off very quickly. He loved working there; the guy worked his ass off. I left the firm three months before it happened. I’d been there four years. When I left, I was assisting with all risk arbitrage accounts, but it just wasn’t working out. So I asked my college roommate about Fahnestock, because his brother was the head of the OTC desk. The decision to leave Cantor was one of the hardest things I ever had to do, but that decision ended up saving my life.
After September 11 I thought seriously about going back to Cantor. For three weeks I weighed the decision, but it just would have been too hard. The move I made was the right one. I thought about leaving Wall Street completely, it’s been so tough, but in the end I thought the best thing for me was to stay where I was. Fahnestock has been very supportive.
It’s been a rough year. The plane that crashed into Rockaway [the November 12 crash of American Airlines flight 587] landed pretty much across the street from my father’s bar. We knew guys from the neighborhood killed in that, too. Chris Lawler [killed by the plane] was one of my brother Charlie’s best friends. He was a great kid with the brightest future. My aunt was in the bar at the time the plane hit, and my father was around the corner putting out the fire of the piece of the engine that fell in front of my house.
I think about September 11 every day. It still seems like it was yesterday. I knew every inch of that office -- I can clearly picture everything, what doors they would have been trying, and that is tough. I know my brother wouldn’t have wanted me to fold my hands and bury my head -- he’d want me to go on with life -- so that’s what I try to do. I ask myself every day, “Why wasn’t I up there?” I don’t feel responsible for my brother’s death, because I know how much he loved Cantor for the one and a half years he was there. The only people I hold responsible are the spineless cowards that did this. They say God has his reasons for everything, but I’m still trying to figure this one out.
CEO, New York Clearing House
I still find it hard to believe that it actually happened. When I walk by the site, I still pause, if not in step then in my mind, to think about what an incredible and ever-changing moment 9/11 was. I worry that it will happen again in a different form. Our people have been impacted in terms of the loss of someone they knew or loved. Some are still coping with that. The firm has been resolute in taking steps so that when the next attack occurs, we’ve done the best we can to prepare for it.
We have developed a comprehensive business continuity insurance plan to prevent terrorists from gaining access to our infrastructure. We’re taking steps to increase the probability of our continued operation in the event of a direct attack on our facilities. We were fortunate on 9/11 in that we weren’t directly attacked and could keep operating.
Certainly, in the immediate days and weeks after the attacks, among the banks and financial institutions related to us, there was a clear desire to accommodate one another whenever we could. We didn’t sweat the small things. If deliveries were late, it wasn’t the end of the world. There was a lot of caring and sensitivity. There was a proactive inquiry about how everyone was doing -- “What can we do to help you?” -- from institutions as far away as San Francisco, Charlotte, Boston. After nine or ten months, business is back to normal. You don’t hear that expressed any longer. Deep down it’s there, but we’re not hearing it now as we did in September, October or November. I think that’s healthy. You’ve got to move on.
CEO, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods
KBW lost 67 of 172 employees, including Duffy’s 23-year-old son, Christopher
Last summer we were planning a big celebration for our 40th anniversary this year. I think September 15 and 16 was the weekend the place was available. We decided to cancel that because we don’t know what kind of mood people will be in. Having a celebration would be the wrong thing to do. So we’ll do something in the future. We haven’t figured out when -- we’ll make a big deal out of the 41st anniversary or something bizarre. I’ve gone through one parent dying. But when your parents get to a certain age and they pass away, you know, that happens to everyone. It can’t compare to losing a kid. That doesn’t happen to everyone. Certainly, losing 67 people that you know pretty well in one day doesn’t happen to everyone. On a personal level, I think it will take people a long time -- maybe never -- to get over 9/11. There are kids that lost their parents, and that situation was a lot worse than what I was dealing with personally. So my heart goes out to those people.
I’ve leaned on the other people around me. Some days I get up, and I’m not in a real good frame of mind. But I get into work, and hopefully the other senior guys around here aren’t having a bad day, and I kind of live off their enthusiasm. And hopefully, when they’re having a bad day, I kind of lift them up. It’s kind of like having a support group.
Rebuilding the firm has been cathartic for me and I think for a lot of the other senior people here. Obviously, this has not been the best environment for our business. In the past when we’ve gone through periods like this, the tendency was to moan and groan about how bad business is, how bad the markets are and to be down about that. But given what we had to do, I don’t think there was a day in the first six months where you came in and worried which way the market was going. Since about the end of March, when we got the trading desk up and running, it’s been a little bit more normal. I’ve been back on the road a little bit, I’ve been out to see clients and thinking a little bit more about the future, as opposed to the rebuilding.
There are constant reminders of 9/11. You get a little frustrated when the airport security guard tells you to take your shoes off, and what you want to say to him is, “Hey, pal, you don’t know where I’ve been.” When I checked into a hotel in San Diego one night, I gave the woman my frequent-stayer card, and she said, “I have some confusion on the address.” I said, “Do you have Two World Trade Center on file?” She said, “Yes. That’s not your current address?” I hadn’t had to do this in about four months. I wanted to say, “Hey, lady, where have you been for the last nine months?” And she stopped herself and said, “Oh my God.” And then of course she wanted to ask me nine questions, and it was 11:00 at night, and I didn’t really want to be interrogated. I said, “Just give me my room.” I was reasonably polite to her but kind of cut her off and said, “I don’t want to go through this again.” But, you know, she’s 3,000 miles away. Maybe I’m the only person she’s met from the World Trade Center and just instinctively she wanted to ask me a slew of questions when she realized. So you get those kinds of reminders.
Vincent Aversano - Director, Firmat USA
Eric Grant - Head of convertible sales and trading, Wachovia
Joseph Mula - Senior vice president, Fahnestock & Co. Founders, with James Conforti, senior trader at McMahan Securities Co., of Convertible Relief Trust,
a $1.3 million trust established for the families of
Edward Allegretto, Vincent Cangelosi, Carl Flickinger and Robert Levine, bond traders at Cantor Fitzgerald
Louisa Allegretto - Beneficiary
Kathy Flickinger - Beneficiary
Ronnie Levine - Beneficiary
Mula: The convertible bond community has historically been small, so we all know each other. The bottom line is that the losses were that much more personal -- like family in a way. I go so far back with Eddie Allegretto and Bobby Levine, and I know their families so well, it would be immoral not to help. Levine: My daughter is grown up, and we are in a better position than the others. These women have to run a family by themselves. And that’s hard. Very hard. Any consideration of aid should be given to them first and foremost, so they can ensure their children’s well-being.
Grant: I initially did what guys in my position and stage in life do when a bad thing happens: Write checks and hope for the best. Then I saw the pictures of nine firemen hanging on the wall near my old station house in Manhattan, and I realized that the magnitude of the disaster was such that you could not help anyone by throwing money at it. If we wanted to help anyone, we would have to get involved over the long run. It’s not right to just dump a six-figure check on someone’s lap after their husband and the father of their children is murdered and say, “All the best.”
Flickinger: Daily economic issues can be overwhelming, so their concern has given me a lot of confidence for the future. No matter how difficult things get, I always remember that they are there. The generosity and concern of these men has been a real source of strength for me.
Aversano: We’ve all done pretty well in this business. September 11 showed that many of us were plain lucky, too. It’s important to share that good fortune with these families.
Allegretto: It means that our two children will be able to continue with parochial school, which was very important to Eddie and me. It also means that we can plan for the college of our choice. The fact that the [Convertible Relief Trust] is there is tremendously comforting to me.
Grant: These people needed reassurance that they would not be left to fend for themselves after the money runs out. I’ve met with all four families and tried to discern what their needs are. [The family of Vincent Cangelosi, 30, who left no dependents, chose not to participate in the fund.]
Allegretto: They have been very respectful of my role as a decision maker. They don’t lecture me or even really offer advice; they sort of stay in the background and let me do what I have to do. I have to say that Joe’s being in touch constantly lets me know that we aren’t forgotten as people.
Grant: Each of us has contact with them on a fairly regular basis and have told them that no concern or question is too small. Still, if it was important to the guys, we’ve told their families it’ll be, and stay, important to us.
CEO, North American securities, Garban Intercapital
Garban had offices in both towers and lost one employee
Out of about 725 employees, I would say that somewhere between five and ten are out on mental disability. There are some dramatic cases. One gentleman hasn’t left Long Island yet. He won’t go across a bridge or in a tunnel. There are people we’ve moved to Jersey City who don’t want to be crossing bridges or tunnels to get there. We have a lot of people who live in Battery Park City, whose families were in the middle of it. So that not only left them having to deal with the emotional scars of September 11 but also to deal with cleaning up, with the logistical problems like, “How do I get my kids to school?” Since September 11, I think people are much more cognizant of the choices they make. People are saying, “Let me weigh every day as if it’s” -- it’s a sad thing, really -- “as if it’s my last day.” Years went by when I didn’t take a vacation, I didn’t go home early, I said yes one too many times to going out with a client. Now if I’ve gone out one night in a week, I’m probably gonna say no to the second night. I will take my vacation time.
A lot of people realize they need to think about what happens if they’re not there for their families tomorrow. We saw a reasonable amount of people who perished on September 11 that were barely into their 30s and had not gotten any of their affairs, their estates, in order. There’s a real effort under way to pay more attention to that now.
There are also some business lessons you can draw from what happened. It gave me a better sense of who my people are. We took people away from their families when they needed them the most, to try to focus on rebuilding the firm. It would have been wonderful if I could have told everybody: “Hey, guys, spend the next six weeks with your family. They need you more now than ever.” But then I’d have 725 families on the unemployment line. And I’m very proud to say that they rose to the occasion.
Seeing how people reacted to that challenge was instructive. I know who brought this company back. I know whose talents, whether obvious or hidden, came to the surface on September 24 when we got back up and running. I was surprised by some of the people who answered that call.
Undersecretary for domestic finance, U.S. Treasury
I remember as a student reading and listening to Paul Volcker tell the world that inflation was a problem of a lack of confidence in the future of money. Flash forward 20 years and be there sitting around a table with these guys [government regulators and Wall Street executives meeting to reopen the markets] at Bear Stearns and what we have to do is get them to be confident in each other. That was a searing experience. There are a number of guys who sent in résumés and asked how they could help. That was one of the hardest things after 9/11 -- all the people who wanted to help and how hard it is for the federal government to absorb that help, with the ethics rules and the blah, blah, blah.
The public impatience with corporate scandals may be a function of where the public feels the nation is in its history: We shouldn’t have to put up with this. Isn’t there more important stuff to do than have these fat cats behave so badly? A couple of months after 9/11, my son and my wife were having an argument about something, and he was taking the idealistic stance, and my wife was trying to see things pragmatically. He looked at her and said, “But Mom, we’re here to make a difference.” Isn’t that what we’re about?
Jamie Stewart Jr.
First vice president, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
September 11 means we are living in a world that is much more integrated and probably more fragile than we had realized. Contingency planning used to be based on the assumption that if you had a fire or a bomb threat in your building, the basic problem was to have another physical location where your people could move in and be ready to do business. You now have to have another location with at least a small cadre of people that can take over the business and run it for a while. The financial industry -- the banks, the regulators, the markets -- everybody is trying to have a little less centralization and a little bit more dispersion, to give us that sort of backup.
What we have all come to realize at a very gut level is that the whole financial industry is one network and that any one link can really cause all of us problems. My guess is, people in the brokerage and investment banking businesses don’t think of payments as a terribly important part of their business, but I think they saw after 9/11 that if the payments settlement business isn’t working, there is not going to be a lot of buying and selling of securities. If anything, there is probably going to be more attention at the top to what some people call the plumbing of Wall Street. You can compete like crazy for brokerage business or investment banking deals, but when it comes to the payments side, everybody has to work together, with common utilities, common standards, to make the back office work effectively.
Bartender and manager, Swingos Restaurant
Swingos was a bond trader for Morgan Stanley
I left the city in February. I had to kind of reevaluate the path I was taking. My father and brothers had always urged me to get involved in the family restaurant in Cleveland, but I seemed to be on this preset course. Everyone I played football with at Princeton went to Wall Street -- it was what you did. And don’t get me wrong, it was fun, working on the bond desk, the Manhattan nightlife. I still love New York. But I just wasn’t loving what I was doing. It’s hard to talk about what happened with people here [in Cleveland]. No one can relate to what really went down that day. At least in New York I could talk about it with people who were there with me or in the city that day. People ask me questions, and I have a tough time explaining it.
My family is real tight. I have close relationships with my parents, my brothers, my two nephews. All we have is each other in this world, so this is where I need to be right now.
President and CEO, Brookfield Properties Corp.
Brookfield owns One Liberty Plaza and the World Financial Center
Like a lot of people down here, I lost friends at the Trade Center, as did my family. In the beginning it was very hard to balance that with doing the work we needed to do. After it happened, I didn’t go home for four days. People are a lot better off than anybody expected back in September and October. It was a horror show down here. A big part of the reason is the remarkable progress the city and the state has made so far. The hole was basically cleaned in 40 percent of the time that they thought, and the cost was 40 percent of what they thought. In the beginning every one of our tenants said they wanted us to black out the windows that faced the site. As they came back, given the progress that was made, every one of them said, “You know what, it’s not so bad.”
Managing editor, The Wall Street Journal
My life has gone at a much faster speed. It’s like the market, it’s been much more volatile, highs and lows. Through it all, just a tremendous respect for the people I work with. I’m more concerned about the safety of our staff than I was before September 11, not that there’s all that much that we can do about it. People are more sensitive to risk. During the anthrax scare last fall, people were understandably on edge. Then, as we began talking about the move back to the World Financial Center, a number of staffers were concerned that people might be exposed to asbestos and other dangers. People are more on edge than they might have been normally. At the same time, there’s also a determination to get stories done and done well and done quickly and at a higher level.
The level of seriousness here has gone up since September 11. The urgency in what we do as journalists in situations like this always goes up several notches. It’s not surprising that while folks want to spend more time with their families, they’re spending easily as much time working, because they feel the work is so important.
I think that the terrible thing that was visited on Danny Pearl [the Journal reporter killed by Pakistani militants] has brought people at the paper closer together, and I think it has also brought journalists in general more together.
[Pearl’s death and the September 11 attacks] were obviously linked in that they came from the same font of terrorism, but they were very different events. On September 11 there was just a catharsis, a tremendous pulling together to get out a paper, a paper that won a Pulitzer Prize. There was just no time to think; you had to react. It wasn’t individual or personal -- it was spread across thousands and thousands of people, people who suffered far more than we did. We had nobody killed or seriously injured, miraculously so. I mean, whole fire companies were lost. It was a highly emotional event, but it wasn’t particularized to any one person. Danny’s situation took place over several weeks -- the effort to try to win his release, the ups and downs we went through.
As a journalist, patriotism is certainly a word that you approach with care. I consider myself patriotic. At the same time, I don’t feel that the role of a newspaper editor is to be a soldier in the army against terrorism. I think the role is to pursue truth and to hope that the truth helps the war against terrorism -- but to call things as you see them. We’re still going after truth, even though we hope Osama bin Laden gets caught. That’s not the kind of thing I would have uttered in public or even thought in an ordinary time.
Chairman and CEO, Nasdaq Stock Market
When I was with Shearson, we were the first people to move into the top stories of the south tower. I spent eight years of my life up there. They told us that our escape route, should anything happen, was to the roof. On that day I watched from my building, across the street, and nobody came to pick up all of the people who went to the roof. The biggest thing I carry away from it is the way New York rallied -- watching all those firemen and everybody cleaning that place up afterwards, the incredible mess and the smoke. We recovered. That underscores the big lesson from 9/11: The terrorists tested the will of New Yorkers, and New Yorkers weren’t found wanting. I think many people were surprised at how strong they were. Yeah, everybody’s a little bit more alert than they were before. But I think their confidence and their ability to deal with whatever may happen in the future is greater than it’s ever been. New York is being looked at by the rest of the country with a little bit more sympathy, with a little bit more affection, instead of being generally hated as the arrogant, liberal, capitalist beast, as it was in the past.
For a little while there was a greater sense of camaraderie, both within this organization and throughout the industry. We fight tooth and nail in many ways with the New York Stock Exchange. They are a great competitor of ours. But during that time, we buried everything. We operated completely hand in hand. I think it was good for the capital markets and good for New York. Now we’re back to most of the old stuff.
Chairman and CEO, Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.
I get one of those clear blue days, and, instead of enjoying it, I remember September 11. Sometimes I say to my husband, “I don’t want to see the sky.” I’m still second-guessing some of the things I did. My family lives downtown. I called to tell them I was okay, but after that we lost phone contact, and I wasn’t home for two nights. That had a terrible impact on my daughter. I still have a really difficult time processing the personal side. The terrible loss that we saw. Coming back downtown, that smell that was still in the air.
We go about things a lot more cautiously. A light flickers, and you’re making sure your backup contingency plans are there. I have a messaging device. I have copies of contact lists everywhere -- on Fire Island, on my person, in my bag. We have set up people to call if something happens, my sister on Long Island and who to call if you can’t reach her. The saddest to me was that my daughter’s school put out a notice of where the children would be taken if there was an emergency.
There’s a great feeling of pride. We kept on processing. We kept on operating. We became a central point for all of the industry. The resiliency helped reassure customers and provided confidence in the markets. They knew that they could go to us. They knew that we were open. People walked for miles and hitchhiked to get in. People knew this was where they had to be.
We’re putting more emphasis on how important people are. We might have been drawn offsides by technology; now we’re concerned about the people. We had backup sites. We had evacuation plans. But we had never contemplated what would happen if we lost people. That had never been on the radar screen. Now it’s on the very top list of our concerns.
Former executive vice president and board member,
Fiduciary Trust Co. International
I was extremely lucky to make it out. I had an 8:00 a.m. management meeting that took place in the center of the 94th floor. We were deep into the meeting when the first plane hit One World Trade. One of my colleagues had the sense to go outside the conference room. He saw that a fireball was going down the west side of Two World Trade, and he turned back and said we should evacuate. There were five of us in the room. Three of us did not get out of the building. I hit the stairway with some colleagues. We walked down from 94 all the way to the bottom floor. A colleague and I were helping carry a woman down the stairs. Her legs would not carry her; she had no muscle control at all. We emptied out on the north mezzanine side, facing the plaza, where people lined up to go to the observation deck. Gray dust was covering everything. The plaza was littered with building parts, plane parts, body parts -- it was unbelievable, and it was the first we’d seen of what had happened. My colleague and I were still carrying this woman, who was a Fiduciary employee, and we walked east one block. I found out later that someone took our picture at Fulton and Church.
I stayed with the firm for a month and a half, helping to reestablish operations. Then I resigned at the end of October. I was totally committed to my job, I loved it, but after that day I felt differently about how I was living my life. It just struck me: Being a father and a husband was the most important job that I had.
I keep pretty busy. I’m able to take the kids to school, pick them up and play around with them. I’ve found myself going back to things I have always loved to do but just seemed to never have the time for. I’m coaching my kids in soccer, and I’m playing in three different men’s soccer leagues. I’m also training for a triathlon.
It’s difficult to talk about what happened that day with my kids. About a month after 9/11, I was driving with my seven-year-old son, and we happened to drive past where I was working, in our office in Short Hills, New Jersey. I told him, “That’s where Daddy works now,” and he asked me what floor I worked on. I pointed to one of the windows near my office, about seven or eight stories up, and he said, “That’s great, Dad, because it doesn’t look like it’s tall enough to get hit by an airplane.” That was really the first thing that he’d said about what happened. My older son, the nine-year-old, built with Legos a little model of the two towers, and he would crash things into it.
I can’t tell you how clear it is still in my memory. We have some beautiful old trees in Summit that you pass on the walk to the train station. The trees were sparkling with the light on them. That glorious walk I had that morning, I want that to be my memory of 9/11.
Chairman and CEO, Bank of New York Co.
We lost three people. It disrupted all of our lives in a very traumatic way. But at the same time, it gave Bank of New York an opportunity to show that it had the resiliency, and the financial system had the resiliency, that everyone does in fact rely on. We’ve a much greater awareness now of the importance of security. We are double- and triple-checking everything. All the precautions that could possibly be taken to keep our employees safe are being taken.
I can’t imagine the spirit of teamwork could have been higher. People were working in awkward and inconvenient circumstances early on, and everyone took enormous comfort in each other. There was a great deal of support throughout the Street. We were fortunate in that we had a contingency plan. We had places to go throughout the metropolitan area. We got moral support, phone calls: Did we need space, did we need equipment? Fortunately, we didn’t.
You might think the sense of camaraderie would have a relatively short shelf life, but we have resumed our life in lower Manhattan right next to Ground Zero, and there is no absence of reminders of what happened.
We were so close to Ground Zero. We realize there was an attempt to disrupt the financial system. We realize how critical the company’s role is. The people have a real sense of purpose and pride. That was true before 9/11 but nowhere near the level it is today.
Psychological issues are No. 1 on our priority list. With the reoccupation of 101 Barclay Street, we’ve had psychologists and counselors on hand. Many have taken advantage of them. When you have seen people jumping out of windows and dying right in front of you while you’re running for your own life, it is easy to understand why people’s perspective on humanity has been disrupted.
Maurice (Hank) Greenberg
CEO, American International Group
AIG lost two employees
I still find it hard to believe that it happened. Every time I fly into New York, I still look for the towers. The day was tumultuous. Day turned to night down here. People were confused and alarmed. I think our organization came together extremely well. We calmed staff down. We opened our doors and helped people get inside. Our medical staff helped people on the street. The next day I worked from our midtown office; our employees went to their assigned places, and we didn’t lose touch with ourselves and our clients.
I’m working harder than ever, and I worked pretty hard before. It’s not just 9/11, but all that’s happened since, the issue of trust, the markets globally.
The world of insurance changed. The impact on the market was very severe, after a decade of intense competition. It was a crushing blow -- not just for the losses, but it changed the world of insurance. The insurance coverage against terrorism currently that is available is far from sufficient to meet the security needs of the nation. We need a federal reinsurance backstop. I spent weeks on this in Washington.
Everyone here in New York was touched. We lost two employees and several family members. The impact doesn’t fade very easily. We have to be sensitive to the wishes and memories of those who perished and to the sensitivities of those who survived. First and foremost, we’ve got to rebuild downtown -- with ceremonial, residential, business, green space and an area for tourists. But it would be a tragedy if we just left the area as a place of mourning.
Widow of Dean Eberling, analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods
I think about September 11, and I find myself wondering what’s expected of me. What I am supposed to do? You have no idea the paperwork I’ve had to fill out in the past year. Insurance forms, Red Cross forms, New York Crime Victims, IRS, Disaster Unemployment, lawyers, relief claims -- it seemed to never end. I was constantly having to prove who Dean was, what he did.
We miss him. It’s ripped us all apart. We’re doing our best to stay together, but it’s a struggle. Even now I don’t know if I have begun to comprehend any of this. I just try to be there for my daughters, and they are there for me.
September 11 is my daughter Lauren’s birthday. So for me it means trying to figure out how to deal with that. Should she go to school that day? Should I keep her here with me? Last year she was ten, and her daddy never came home. This year she’ll be 11. She was born at 11:30 at night, so I said to her, “You know, honey, we could have your birthday on the 12th.” She said, “No, I want to keep it the 11th.” She’s proud of it.
Hochman was at Streamline Trading on the 83rd floor of Tower One when the plane hit floors 93 98
I have a desk at 67 Wall Street, at a clearing house called Sonic. But for the summer I’m trading out here on Shelter Island. The family didn’t want to be separated from me. Downtown Manhattan is still dead. You can cross the street and there are no cars. Every day I have to walk past the Trade Center, and it’s an eerie feeling. But progress is being made.
At Sonic everyone is very friendly. I don’t know if it’s related to September 11 or not. I’ve only been there for a few months. People are much more sensitive. They are scrutinizing things more. You have to reexamine all your fundamental beliefs. People think the stock market is going to be around forever, and WorldCom is going to be there, and they’re not. There was a bomb scare across the street at Deutsche Bank in May, and I ran home. I just took off. I don’t take chances. It’s not like I’m scared of my shadow. It’s just smarter to not take chances with that type of thing.
These profiles were compiled under the supervision of Rich Blake and Justin Schack, written and reported by Blake, Schack, Jenny Anderson, Roderick Boyd, Michael Carroll, Justin Dini, Jacqueline S. Gold, Deepak Gopinath and Hal Lux. They were edited by Ruth Hamel.