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Sunday, September 10, 2006

September 11, 2001 - 2,996 Tribute

It was a pleasant sunny morning. I remember thinking what a great end of summer day. I arrived at work early and there was only one other person in my department. She was surfing the web and said to me that I plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I quickly logged on and with disbelief picked up the phone.

You see I used to work as an investment accountant at Carr Futures. Carr Futures had offices on the 92nd floor of the World Trade Center. All I could think was, I know people there, I know people there!

No one answered the call that I placed to the Carr Futures offices across the street from my new office, which just happened to be in the Sears Tower.

Immediately of course it just appeared to be an accident. Then, plane number two, tower number two. This is not an accident. I nearly fell to to the floor. I was instantly hoping that it was too early for most of them to be there. I was also hit with a subtle sense of regret.

On a recent visit to New York, I was to have visited the crew at the WTC and in my somewhat usual manner, I had procrastinated and ended up only phoning them but not actually making it over for a visit.

This was emotional devastation for me. The sense of regret was no longer subtle. It was all encompasing. Especially when all you could see were plooms and plooms of smoke as tower one crumbled to the ground and my friend Lo Lo said "they're gone".

69 CF employees died that day.

There really are no words to describe or explain how I felt after this. It was something so primal and unimaginable.

Even now I look at the pictures of the vitims, in particular the ones that I worked with and still can not find any words to describe it.

They were just really good people. We never met face to face but we laughed and joked and made each others work lives so much easier.

The friends I lost:

Lisa Cannava

Lisa and her brother died on 9/11.

This tribute was written by her husband Richie

It is so very sad to think that our family and many others have been forced to go through so much pain and hardship due to the tragic loss of our loved ones on September11. We have lost loving daughters, sons, husbands, wives, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephew, brothers, sisters and treasured friends. Even though we are forced to go on with our lives day after day the world just is not as much fun without them.

A year later, you would think the worst is now behind us and that we would soon be feeling better and ready to accept what was terribly and so unfairly taken away from us. I am sorry to say, the pain our hearts suffered the first day of their disappearance still remains in us today and will always.

Our family lost two remarkable people, John Difato and Lisa Cannava. John, a terrific man who will always have a special place in our hearts. His spirit and goodness will always be remembered fondly and lovingly. Lisa, whose loss we cannot understand. She was a remarkable and wonderful wife, friend, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law and aunt. We shall always remember our happy times together. I recall all the loving times we shared as husband and wife; I was truly blessed with a loving friend and spouse. Their smiles, spirit, and goodness will remain alive in the hearts of everyone who knew and loved them.

We are forced to accept that you are gone from our lives forever, but the memories our families shared will always remain alive in our hearts and souls. Please rest in peace Lisa and John. Know that the friends and family you left behind love and miss you dearly. The only comfort we, have is knowing that you are not alone; you have each other and are watching over us.

Your Loving Husband Richard


Lisa Bella Cannava
Carr Futures, Inc. supervisor. Sept. 16, 2001

Lisa Cannava, 30, and her brother John DiFato, 38, the only children of Tony and Theresa DiFato, worked 11 floors from each other near the top of the World Trade Center.

Cannava's husband, Richard, said that while he and his wife were planning a vacation to the Bahamas, she was busy redecorating every room of their Staten Island home.

John DiFato was a family man who spent much of his time with his wife and three children.

When the first plane slammed into tower one of the World Trade Center, Richard Cannava, who works five blocks away, ran to the site looking for his wife. When he was 300 feet from her building, it collapsed.

"She sat right there where the plane went in," he said. "I would feel better if I had a body to bury--at least I would be able to rest."

--Rudolph Bush (The Chicago Tribune)

Learn more about Lisa, one of the sweetest people I have ever known, here.

Pam Boyce

Pamela Boyce was survived by her life partner of 6 1/2 years, Catherine Anello, her mother, Laura Alessi of South Amboy, N.J.; her father, Noel Boyce of Port Charlotte, Fla.; two sisters, Desiree of South Amboy, N.J., and Gina of Jamesburg, N.J.; and two nieces and a nephew.

Sometimes people would see Pamela J. Boyce's direct, no-nonsense style and take it for abrasiveness, says her partner, Catherine Anello. But Pamela, 43, refused to change. "It was similar to slapping someone in the face," Catherine says of the woman she shared a life with in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. "If there was someone who lost a loved one and had been grieving too long, so that they were not living their life, she would say, `Stop. It's not what they would want. They are in a better place.' She said, `I'm not afraid to die because I know where I am going is beautiful.' "

Pam was a competitive disco dancer. One of her happiest moments was serving as a Lamaze coach for her sister Desiree when her niece Kristina was born. "She was so neurotic there she had to find something specific on the baby to make sure they got the right one," Catherine said, laughing. "I think she finally found a little mark on her ear."

While working full time as assistant vice president of accounting for financial services firm Carr Futures Inc., Pam maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average at night school, graduating in May with an associate's degree in accounting from Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn. She planned to go on for bachelor's and master's degrees.

"Once she put her mind to it, that was it," Anello said. "I used to get tired watching her come home and study after a full day of work."

Still, Boyce had plenty of energy left over for friends.

"During the summer, we were always at the beach. She loved to get a tan and relax," Anello said. "Or we'd go to a friend's house and hang out poolside and celebrate whatever was going on."

A street was named for her on July 9th @ 90th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway, Brooklyn.

Learn more about Pamela here.

Emilio "Pete" Ortiz

Off the Job, 'DJ Pete' Kept Family Laughing

December 12, 2001

Emilio Ortiz's mother-in-law had bought a step-climbing machine to shed some pounds, and she was frustrated because it wouldn't help her sweat.

Ortiz, 38, jumped on it to show her how it was done, and when she was not looking, he sprayed his face, chest and back with water to create a fake sweat.

She got on the machine again and again, and he repeated the joke, pretending he hyperventilated because of the strong workout. When she realized what was happening, it was too late, because she was already sweating from the extra effort he had coaxed from her.

"He was such a prankster," recalled his wife of three years, Wanda. "He was always making my mother and brothers laugh. ... He was a generous soul with himself. He didn't hold himself back."

Ortiz, a cheerful guy who christened himself DJ Pete, also had a serious and responsible side to him, which led to his job as clearing supervisor for Carr Futures, a brokerage firm at the World Trade Center. Ortiz, of Corona, Queens, was lost on Sept. 11, leaving his wife and the now 8-month-old twin daughters, Emily and Amanda, who were the objects of his adoration.

Ortiz grew up in the Williamsburg and South Side sections of Brooklyn. After one year of college, he opted to work, and got his first job, more than 10 years ago, at the World Trade Center.

He was first hired by Klein and Co., a family-owned medical insurance firm that eventually closed. There he learned the day-to-day work of the company's accounting office, positioning himself for the job he held at Carr.

When his wife met him more than a decade ago, Ortiz was saving his nights for his other passion, popular music. He was a DJ at Teddy's Bar on the North Side section of Brooklyn. They became friends and started dating. The wedding proposal came on Valentine's Day 1995 in the form of another joke.

A nervous Ortiz gave his love speech in front of friends and relatives and handed Wanda a box containing a fake diamond ring. But the joke was on him - she was so overwhelmed by her emotions that the prank did not register. She thought the ring was beautiful and said yes. Then he pulled out the real thing, a ring with a marquise stone that she had wanted.

The wedding followed in 1998.

"I should probably have married him sooner," his wife said.

When he learned that his wife was pregnant, Ortiz told his mother- in-law, María Rodríguez, that he was praying for a daughter.

"He asked for one and God gave him two," said Rodríguez, of the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. Every night, Ortiz played with his daughters, carrying one at a time because he was afraid he might drop one of them.

"I am in pain, full of rage and suffering," Rodríguez said, " because a lot of good people like him died with the attacks."

-- Víctor Manuel Ramos (Newsday)

Learn more about Pete here.

Valsa Raju

Valsa was the mother of two children: Sonia, 9, and Sanjay, 5. She was known for her contagious smile and she enjoyed decorating and gardening.

In a small backyard patch, she grew tomatoes, eggplant, and -- like any good Indian -- hot peppers, which were said to help fire up her curry dishes!

Valsa's loved ones have a wonderful website in here memory. View it here

Marcia Cecil-Carter

-She Had Just Met Her Month-Old Grandson

October 14, 2001

The weekend before Sept.11, Marcia Cecil-Carter saw her month-old grandson, Zion Owens, for the first time.

"She just fell in love from the moment she saw him," said her husband, Ondre Carter. "For those two days, we just played with him all day."

On that Tuesday morning, Cecil-Carter was running late for work.

"I wanted to tell her, 'Stay home, and I'll stay home, and let's play with the grandson,'" said Carter. "It just never came out. I wish I would have said it."

A reconciliation clerk at Carr Futures, on the 92nd floor of Tower One, Cecil-Carter never came home from work that day.

At 34, Cecil-Carter had not expected to be a grandmother. But when she heard that her daughter, Amber, was pregnant at 17, she took it in stride, her husband said. After all, she had given birth to Amber when she herself was 17, having graduated from high school in her native Chicago while pregnant, and going into a Navy boot camp just months after the birth.

"She was a strong person," said Carter. "She really focused on life and what she had to do to survive, for her and her daughter."

Yet, life was a joy to Cecil- Clark, her husband said.

"She had this heart-filling smile," he said. "When she smiled, it just filled your heart. You knew everything was going to be OK."

Carter confessed to being as enthralled with his wife as he was when they first met, on a street in Brooklyn five years ago.

"To me, she had a gasping beauty," he said, describing her green eyes and long brown hair. "Even when she would get up in the morning, I used to be like, 'Wow. She's so beautiful. She's so beautiful, and she's mine.'"

The couple have a 4-year-old son, Devonte, and were married in February of last year. The night before Cecil-Carter was killed, they stayed up all night talking about their past and future together, as they tended to do a couple of times a week.

"We'd go to work tired," Carter said.

Together, they already had achieved some of what they'd set out to do, buying a house and traveling to Hawaii, for instance. But there were more plans for the future - a chain of gourmet popcorn stores they hoped to open and, possibly, another child.

Carter calls his wife "my only true friend that I've ever had in my life." A month after her death, he said, "I'm just honored that I got to spend the time with her that I did. God blessed me." --Indrani Sen (Newsday)

-Learn more about Marcia here.

Harold Lizcano

Only the Rarest of Roses Were Good Enough

November 2, 2001

On Sept. 11, Harold Lizcano kissed his new wife goodbye. Then, he looked back, turned around and kissed her again. That night, when Lizcano didn't return to their East Elmhurst apartment, his wife, Emily, thought of that unexpected second kiss as a last gift.

But weeks later, she opened his American Express bill and saw a single charge from the Shubert Theater. It was for two tickets for the musical "Chicago." She called the box office.

"When the guy said it was for Nov. 4, I yelled out, 'That's my birthday!'" said Emily, who plans to attend with her father.

Lizcano, 31, was an accountant for Carr Futures on the 92nd floor of Tower One. Last week, DNA tests confirmed his death in the attack.

"It felt like Sept. 11 all over again," his wife said. Then she felt thankful. "I'd prefer to go through this pain than for him to be in my shoes ... I don't think he would be able to handle it."

She had always been the stronger of the two. As one of five kids, she had constant family support. Lizcano, a Queens native, was raised by his mother.

In spite of their differences, the couple, who were friends for three years after meeting at work, fell in love. "He was so pure and honest and loving, there was never any malicious intent at all," she said.

They had a June wedding, a Hawaiian honeymoon and deep spirituality. Raised in the Catholic Church, Lizcano was described as a true gentleman. Though he didn't like to send flowers -they die too quickly, he said-three weeks before their wedding, a dozen of the biggest, reddest and most rare roses, arrived at his wife's desk. "He had researched the best roses," she said. And on their wedding day, he sent them again with a note that read, "I'll be waiting at the altar."

At first Emily Lizcano prayed for her husband to be alive. Then she prayed rescuers would find his remains. Last week, she planned a memorial for tomorrow. "I wanted everything to be perfect," she said. "The perfect casket, the perfect place ... everything he deserved." And that, she said, is her final gift to him.

Lizcano also is survived by his mother, Sonia Mira of Woodside. Memorial services are scheduled for 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Anselm's Church, 685 Tinton Ave. in the Bronx.

-- Nedra Rhone (Newsday)

Learn more about Harold here.

As a part of the 2,996 Tribute I am paying tribute not only to my friends from Carr Futures NY but also to:

Chandler Keller
Age: 29, Killed at: American Airlines Flight 77

-Chad Keller was born in Manhattan Beach, California, on October 8th, 1971, and died just short of his 30th birthday. Chad was: a loving husband; a great friend; respected by his coworkers; admired by his brothers; and an immense pride and joy of his parents. He is survived by his wife, Lisa Keller, of Manhattan Beach; his parents, Kathy and Dick Keller, of Del Mar, California; and his brothers, Brandon and Gavin.

In his memory a scholarship has been established for aerospace engineering students at the University of Colorado.

Learn more about Chandler here.

John Talignani
Age: 72, Killed at: United Airlines Flight 93

-John Talignani was retired after 20 years of serving drinks at a Manhattan steakhouse. He would sit in front of his 55-inch television in his Staten Island home and order things on QVC. He couldn't resist. He had two bread makers. Toasters. A pasta maker. Baseball memorabilia.

Learn more about John here.