On July 26th of this year I turned 30 years old. While I embraced my coming decade with confidence and peace, I had occasional tremors of fear – the passing of time, goals left unaccomplished, a heart trying to make her way in the world.
On that day, as well, this plaque officially adorned a bench in Central Park for the first time, near Strawberry Fields on the west side, shadowed by elm trees:
Aaron Jacobs was a vivacious 27 year old, a Vice President on the international trading desk of Cantor Fitzgerald, the firm that lost all of the 658 employees that were in the building that day (including Aaron Horowitz, of who I wrote a tribute to yesterday). Aaron was on one of Cantor Fitzgerald’s floors on the upper levels of One World Trade Center, above where the tower was struck.
A Boston native, his parents had met and married in New York City, and were not surprised that Aaron moved back to New York to find his own way.
While he worked in his incredibly lucrative position, he also was incredibly generous, often volunteering to teach work skills to people on welfare. Containing an incredibly capacity for joy, he had bacpacked through Europe, taught English in Cozumel, studied abroad in Madrid, climbed a volcano in Greece, and was contemplating Africa for his upcoming honeymoon with fiance Jeannine McAteer.
In one particularly memorable tale, he soothed a seething coworker, who was ranting in a dramatically powerful fashion, by getting down on one knee and singing “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”. It cracked everyone up, breaking the tension in the room. That was how he often dealt with pain and anger – by evoking laughter.
Aaron was also in love with the city he called home. He sought out a wide range of ethnic restaurants, frequented museums and ran regularly through Central Park. His brother described him as “a secretly silly and tender Wall Streeter”.
Aaron’s fiance remains close with his family, and his parents are comforted having a memorial to visit when they come to NYC – a place where people can sit and rest, read, take in the city and remember the man who loved it so much.
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.