Aaron Horowitz, from what I can gauge from the words said of him from friends and family members, was exactly the kind of person I want in my life more.
An infectiously happy, funny person, Aaron was an institutional bond broker for Cantor Fitzgerald, the company that occupied several of the top floors of One World Trade Center. On the morning of September 11, 2001, 658 employees of Cantor Fitzgerald (about a third of its global work force) were on the 101st-105th floors, several floors above where the hijacked plane made the initial impact. Aaron was on the 104th. He perished along with the entirety of his company, the greatest single loss to a company on that day.
Aaron loved that job, and it suited him well. He was responsible for entertaining clients, making them feel like the most important, respected, worthy people in the world. This job was laughably suited for him: he was known to charm waitresses at four star restaurants into arranging a last-minute table for eight, cheering up a sobbing concierge after a bad break up and calling her hours later to make sure she was feeling better, and initiating a hula-hooping contest with a stranger in a toy store. Or, my favorite, drawing his own masterpiece in the chill of a window right next to a Rembrandt. He made small moments big, dull moment creative. He “seized souls”.
A former college adviser said, “I always knew Aaron would thrive in a career in which success was built on one’s trustworthiness, likability and good communication. He had a zest for life that provides me with some comfort. Aaron truly enjoyed his time here, and made the most of every minute and opportunity.”
Aaron’s friends and family celebrated that zest for life, that love and happiness he resonated and his ability to make friends with anyone. But they obviously mourned the brevity of his life, a life that was seemingly coming together perfectly. This respectful, friendly, warmhearted man had a beautiful future in front of him.
This year Aaron would have been 34. It’s heartbreaking to think about how many more lives he could have touched, the family he could have started, the work he could have accomplished. Reading about him across the web I’m sitting here, tearing a bit for this man I never knew. This happy, infectious, energetic, respectful, hardworking man.
His college roommate relayed this at his memorial service:
“It’s funny how God seems to take people when they are on top of their game and on top of the world, because that’s exactly where Aaron was. He truly lived an amazing life for a 24-year-old. He accomplished more in his time than most people do in a lifetime.”
And please see the comments below for a reflection from Jon, someone who knew Aaron since they were 17. I am so thankful he shared.
This tribute was written as part of Project 2996. I picked the first six names on the list who had not been written yet, and am posting one every day in the week leading up to September 11th, 2011. To read my initial post on this organization and to donate to The Feel Good Foundation, an advocacy group for first responders affected by serving on September 11th, please CLICK HERE.
For more information on Aaron Horowitz:
- 9/11 memorial garden gives kin comfort (nydailynews.com)
- Remembering 9/11 with Tributes, Donations and Food. (thedustybaker.com)
- Podcast: Job Creation, Cantor Fitzgerald and Keynes (economix.blogs.nytimes.com)