Such a Long Time to Be Gone and a Short Time to Be Here

This column originally appeared on Real Money Pro at 8:07 a.m. EDT on Sept. 11.

NEW YORK ( Real Money) --

What do you want me to do
To watch for you while you're sleeping?
Well, please don't be surprised when you find me dreaming too;
It's just a box of rain,
I don't know who put it there.
Believe it if you need it,
Or leave it if you dare;
But it's just a box of rain
Or a ribbon for your hair;
Such a long, long time to be gone,
And a short time to be there.

-- Grateful Dead, " Box of Rain"

Sept. 11, 2001, still seems like yesterday to me. It is a day that I will forever remember vividly with clarity and disbelief.

To many of us, 2001 will forever be annus horribilis -- the year of horror.

On this day, as has been the case for the last 11 years, my eyes remain full of tears as I write this column in memory of all of those I knew (and those I didn't know) who were lost in the World Trade Center, in Pennsylvania and in Washington, D.C. It is said that death leaves a heartache that no one can heal but that love leaves a memory no one can steal.

And so it is today Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, we observe the eleventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

As I have for each of those years (with the blessing and permission of the powers that be on TheStreet and on Real Money Pro), today I want to pass along my thoughts by writing this opening missive as a dedication to some of those who were lost -- especially to my best pal, Chuck Zion (a.k.a., Brown Bear).

Chuck worked at Cantor Fitzgerald, the brokerage firm that lost nearly 700 employees 10 years ago. It was the hardest-hit company in the World Trade Center tragedy, accounting for nearly one-quarter of the building's deaths that day. I lost many friends at Cantor on Sept. 11: Eric, Pat, Timmy -- too many to count. So did many others. And of course, we all lost one of TheStreet's own, Bill "Budman" Meehan.

In Cantor Fitzgerald's equity division, none had more of a presence (literally and figuratively) than Chuck Zion. He was known to his friends and clients as the Brown Bear, a sensitive, giving and caring friend; father to Zach; son to Martin and Jane; and husband to the amazing Carole ("Cheezy"). His love was pure, and there was never any pretense -- not wordy, he was on point.

The largest producer over the past decade at Cantor Fitzgerald, Chuck was master of his universe. He was straightforward and clear-cut, a no-nonsense and respected partner who was remarkably generous but never, ever wanted others to know it. He gave often and substantially but always anonymously, without strings attached. Chuck, who also worked at Salomon Brothers and Sanford C. Bernstein, put on some of the largest trades in the history of the equities market. He was the player the "big boys" went to when they wanted anonymity. And I am talking multimillion-share trades, the really big prints. And it was Chuck who introduced me to Bill Meehan -- he even had me fill in for Budman on a few occasions in the Cantor Daily News.

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