Sandler O'Neill & Partners
Tears, Silence as Firms Remember Their Lost
New York Daily News
09/17/02 by NANCY DILLON
Karen Fishman approached the microphone on Sandler O'Neill's trading floor yesterday with a speech she'd written to remember 70 lost friends. Then she recalled the advice of a colleague.
The co-worker said Fishman had two choices: she could either read her remarks without trying to think about them or she could let her emotions flow and probably have to stop.
"It was hard, but I just read them," Fishman, a Sandler principal who was one of just 17 company employees to escape from the south tower's 104th floor, said.
"It was a huge loss for me last year," she explained, "and I wanted the people at Sandler, the old and the new, to know how I felt, how we miss these people every day."
Some 140 Sandler employees gathered for the solemn company service. Jimmy Dunne, the only survivor of the boutique investment bank's founding troika, presided. A rabbi and priest led prayers. The names of 70 staffers and associates killed in the devastating attack were read aloud.
When the service ended, some employees left to be with family. About three-quarters stayed through the afternoon.
"There were a lot of tears," said company spokesman Larry Belinsky. Still, he said, "we made the decision long ago that one of the best ways to honor those lost was to stay open."
For World Trade Center-refugee companies around the metro area, yesterday was a day of contrasts. Most offices were open as rebuilding continued, but business was subdued and many employees took personal days to reflect in private.
Investment bank Keefe Bruyette & Woods, which lost 67 people in the attack, gave workers the option to stay home. For those who chose to come in, the company gathered for a moment of silence at 10:00 a.m., the time the south tower collapsed. A Keefe-organized memorial service followed at 4:30 p.m. at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in midtown.
Aon, the insurance giant that lost 176 employees when its offices were destroyed by the hijackers, closed most of its 12 area locations.
"Our office was open, but it was not business as usual," said Barbara Perlmutter, a spokeswoman for insurance brokerage Marsh & McLennan, which lost 294 employees last Sept. 11. "We had several commemorations. Some employees stayed home. It was a flexible day."
At Mizuho, formerly Fuji Bank, employees spent time in a remembrance room filled with flowers and photos of the 23 staffers lost in the south tower.
"We're seeing a wide range of emotions from people talking about it openly, to watching the TVs to being very quiet," said Lisa Murphy of Carr Futures, the brokerage house that lost 69 of 143 employees who once worked on the north tower's 92nd floor.