Proudest Monkey

zzzJeff LeVeen was my kinda guy.

He was a huge fan of the Dave Matthews Band. He’d seen them no fewer than a dozen times (ahem…that’s a dozen times a year), and his favorite song was “Proudest Monkey.” One of his friends described a moment at one such show where he was jumping up and down, screaming for the band to play his favorite song.

He served his country in the Army during the Vietnam War before graduating from Dartmouth University, where he was captain of the golf team. He could spend a whole day playing golf and go home and ask his kids, “who wants to go fishing?” He was a man with seemingly limitless energy, whose family was his whole world.

On September 11, 2001, he was in his office at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 104th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center in a meeting. At 0846 Eastern Standard Time, American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower between the 93rd and 99th floors–just below the Cantor Fitzgerald offices. The impact of the jetliner into the building and the subsequent fireball that erupted rendered all stairwells and elevators above the 92nd floor impassable; there was no escape for the 1,344 souls trapped above.

Cantor Fitzgerald lost 658 members of its family–including Jeff LeVeen.

Later, as his wife Christine described trying to find pictures of Jeff by himself–a feat she found nearly impossible. “All our photos showed him with his arm around the kids or they had their arms around him. He was never alone. That’s the kind of man he was.”

The world is a much better place for having had Jeff in it. I look forward to meeting you when I get home.

(NOTE: this is my contribution to Project 2,996, the movement to post a tribute to each soul lost in the attacks on September 11, 2001.)