Saturday, September 8, 2012

Bonds, Brothers & Brotherly Bonds

Lived in an apartment out on Avenue A
I had a tar-hut on the corner of 10th
Had myself a lover who was finer than gold
But I've broken up and busted up since

Too many American families sustained losses on September 11, 2001.  Tragically, for a number of those families, the loss sustained was not 'limited' (the single most inappropriate use of that word in the history of the English language and one for which I apologize) to one family member but instead to two or more.

Andrew Abate was thirty-seven years old when he was murdered on the morning of September 11, 2001.  He had just celebrated his birthday five days earlier.  Approximately three years earlier he had joined his older brother Vincent Abate at Cantor Fitzgerald.  Vincent, who was roughly three years older than Andrew, had worked at Cantor Fitzgerald for a number of years.  He considered it to be quite a personal coup when he was able to persuade Andrew, with whom he was exceptionally close, to join him at the firm.  The two would often spend an evening - after having worked together all day - shooting hoops together or playing handball together in order to unwind.  As long as they were in the compnay of one another, they were happy.  On that terrible Tuesday morning the Abate brothers were in their office, doing something they loved and doing it in the company of someone they loved, when the North Tower was struck. 

When Andrew Abate married his wife Carolyn in 1990 it was his big brother Vincent who stood up for him as his best man.  Andrew and Carolyn had no children and loved to spend their time renovating their home and traveling.  Vincent, who was single, was said by family members to have loved acting on impulse - sometimes hopping on a plane to Las Vegas for a weekend on a moment's notice. 

The Brothers Abate enjoyed each other's company away from work as well.  Vincent rented a house at the Shore during the summer and they would get together there as often as they could.  In a wonderful tribute to them and their relationship, their family posted this, which shows two titans of Wall Street enjoying time with nature with neither a bull nor a bear anywhere to be seen.  If you need a reminder of what courage looks like, then look no further than right here.   Or here.   A remarkable woman. 

Joseph Patrick Shea and Daniel James Shea were brothers separated by about ten years.  Joseph Patrick Shea was one of the founding partners of Cantor Fitzgerald.   He was forty-seven years old at the time of his death.  He lived in Pelham, NY with his wife Nancy and their four small children.  In what can only fairly be characterized as a testament to the strength of character of the woman he married and the children they had started to raise together - and whom she continued to raise after his death - his four children as they have grown up have each done remarkable things.  His two oldest sons, both of whom are in their early to mid-twenties have followed their dad's career path and are bond traders.  His daughter is walking in his footsteps as well as a student at his alma mater, Georgetown University.  His youngest - a son who is in high school - is skating in dad's footsteps (Joe Shea was an avid hockey player and coach) as the captain of his school's ice hockey team. 

In a tribute to her late husband that was written in connection with the tenth anniversary of the 09/11 attacks, Nancy Shea said, "I have four wonderful children.  They are survivors, and they are leading lives that would make their father proud."  One supposes that if Joe Shea could comment on his bride's statement he would point out to her that she had failed to give herself any credit for their success or mention herself as one who is living a life that makes him proud.  

Daniel Shea was ten years younger than his big brother Joe and - as those of us who are younger siblings tend to do - he had resisted Joe's efforts to recruit him to Cantor Fitzgerald for a number of years out of concern that those there would think Daniel's position was a result of who he knew and not what he knew how to do.  Eventually his older brother won out.  It was reported that on the morning of September 11, 2001 Joe Shea was last seen in Cantor Fitzgerald's offices on the 105th floor while his brother Daniel was last seen one floor below.  According to their sister, "They were all alive for a while. Danny didn't have his cell, but his friend Tommy did. They couldn't call out, but when Tommy's girlfriend called, Danny said, 'Call my wife and tell her how much I love her.' Joseph called his wife and said, 'A plane just hit the building.' She said, 'What about Danny?' He said, 'I'm just going down to find him.' "

At age thirty-seven, Daniel Shea left a wife, Ellen, and three small children.  The youngest of his kids, his daughter Maggie, shares her daddy's birthday:  February 26.  She was just six and one-half months old when he died.  Although she was too young at the time of his death to have formed any memory of him, her mom has ensured that she has gotten to know him through the sharing of photos and the telling of stories. In a tribute to him that appeared on the tenth anniversary of the attacks, Ellen (who remarried in 2004) said, "He truly enjoyed people in his life, his family, his kids.  We were lucky we had these three great kids, and he was able to see them all and spend some time with them."

In his masterpiece, "Downtown:  My Manhattan" the great Pete Hamill wrote, "Time itself is long, even if the time of man is short."  A lesson etched in indelible marker for the families of September 11, 2001, including the Sheas and the Abates. 

And love won't play any games with you
Anymore if you want 'em to
So we better shake this old thing out the door
I'll always be thinkin' of you
I'll always love you though New York
I'll always love you though New York, New York, New York

-AK




 

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