Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11 6 Years Later -- And a Tribute to Daniel Thomas Afflitto

No one in this country needs to be reminded that today is the sixth anniversary of 9/11/01. New York, D.C., America and indeed the world changed on that day, never to return to the innocence we enjoyed. After nine years of attacking America and American interests, after previously attacking the World Trade Center, after attacking a United States Navy vessel, the U.S.S. Cole, al Qaeda finally got America's attention. Unfortunately 2,996 innocent victims had to die for us to release that we are at war.

Last year I took part in one of the most stirring tributes to those victims -- Project 2,996. I wanted to follow up on my tribute to Donna Bernaerts-Kearns with another tribute, however, because of several personal issues involving Project 2,996's founder Dale, this herculean effort to coordinate tributes to all 2,996 victims, was not undertaken this year. I Therefore take it upon myself to memorialize one of the victims. I am selecting, at random, Daniel Thomas Afflitto.

Daniel was a partner and head of the equities department at Canter Fitzgerald on the 104th floor of the WTC. According to his father, Daniel initially believed the building had been bombed, called home and told his wife, Stacey, 'We've been bombed and I'm going to get out of here. I love you and give a kiss to my son for me,'
Those were the last words his wife, Stacey, ever heard from him.

Daniel, a graduate of Wayne Hills High School in New Jersey and St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, was described by family and friends as an extremely hard and dedicated worker, arriving at work at 8:00 am and routinely working 12 hour days.

From descriptions I have read on the internet, words like fun loving and life of the party do not do justice for Daniel. According to one website:

Daniel Afflitto loved to show off his large new house in Manalpan, N.J. There was the tree-trimming party, the barbecues, and over Labor Day weekend, a luau, complete with pina coladas and a hula dancer. "His was the place where everyone went, to take a swim, watch a game, and hang out on the patio," said his father, Joseph T. Afflitto.

On September 11, 2001, Daniel was 32 years old. He had one son, Daniel, then seven months old. Only a the day before the attacks Daniel guessed that his wife was pregnant with their second child. This was confirmed two days after his death. In addition to his two kids, his wife Stacey, Daniel was survived by his mother, Eleanor; his father Joseph; his brother, Joseph Jr.; his sister-in-law, Lisa; three nieces; his in-laws, Pat and John Rizzo; his brother-in-law, John Rizzo, and his sister-in-law, Dianna Rizzo.

In reading about Daniel he reminds me a lot of myself. Both hard working, I frequently put in 12 hour days at work, although he seems to have achieved more professionally than I did by age 32, we both love to host parties at home (Daniel even living only one town away from where I live), and both seem to enjoy life and all that it brings. Daniel even had a seven month old, while my daughter is just now 6 months. How tragic for his kids to grow up not knowing their father. How tragic for this world to go on without Daniel and his thirst for life.

No comments: