Devastated Firm Grieves, Looks Ahead

From Associated Press

Family and friends of the 658 Cantor Fitzgerald employees who died in the Sept. 11 attacks came together in Central Park on Wednesday in a private memorial to remember those lost and to begin thinking about the future.

Under a huge tent, hundreds of people gathered to hear speeches from family members, colleagues and survivors, as well as a smattering of politicians, clergymen and celebrities.

Howard Lutnick, the bond brokerage firm's CEO, whose brother, Gary Lutnick, died in the attacks, reminded the guests that they would stand together as they continue to move ahead.

"Each of us has had our hearts torn apart," Lutnick told the somber, tearful crowd. "But we can take those pieces and put them back together. And together we will create something new."

The company, which lost nearly two-thirds of its employees last Sept. 11--representing almost a quarter of the total 2,801 dead and missing at the World Trade Center--has already started the difficult process of rebuilding.

Cantor Fitzgerald and its subsidiaries have temporarily relocated to midtown Manhattan and hired 150 new employees.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) reminded the audience that while the friends and family of Cantor Fitzgerald employees have suffered immensely, they have also set an example of strength over the past year.

"How do you move forward when the grief is this large? How do you endure the sadness?" asked Clinton. "You have helped answer those questions.... "

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and clergymen representing different faiths also spoke, while Carole King, Judy Collins and the Harlem Boys Choir performed.

But the most rousing moment came when Lauren Manning, a Cantor Fitzgerald sales executive, addressed her colleagues. Manning spent three months in a coma and sustained such severe burns that she was given only a 10% chance of surviving.

Standing before the crowd, Manning, who has become a symbol of resilience, said that, rather than stand for a moment of silence, she would like to clap until her arms ached, hoping that those who perished would hear her.

The crowd stood and cheered.

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