Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11: Remembering William J. Meehan

I am writing this tribute to William J. Meehan as part of Project 2,996, in which bloggers volunteer to remember the valuable lives of the people we lost on September 11, 2001.

Bill Meehan was a 49-year-old husband and father of three who lived in Darien, Connecticut, and who had had just moved his office to the World Trade Center in late August of 2001 because he was being asked more and more frequently to share his views of Wall Street on CNBC. Bill was chief market analyst for Cantor Fitzgerald, the country's largest bond firm, with more than 1,000 people working in four floors of the north tower.

I never knew Bill Meehan, but Amy Langfield did, and she wrote about him in a letter to her parents on September 18, the day she learned of his death. Amy had just returned to New York, where she reported on Wall Street matters for Reuters. Later, Amy published that letter in her blog, Amy's New York Notebook, on June 24, 2002, in a post entitled, "There's No Forgetting."

Here's some of what Amy wrote:

I used to talk to Bill Meehan nearly every morning when I was writing the market curtain-raiser for Reuters. He was often the first person I talked to in the mornings and always helped me get my bearings for the day. Super nice guy, always helpful, and had a good grasp of overall market conditions. I had to call analysts about 7:20 a.m. and find out what they thought the most important factors in the market would be that day -- there weren't that many people already in the office and on the ball by then, but Meehan was, and was [one of] only about five guys we knew who would bother to talk to reporters that early.
The New York Times had a few things to say about Bill Meeham too:
William J. Meehan liked to say he had the ideal job. "All he had to do was give an opinion," said his wife, Maureen. But when Mr. Meehan opined, Wall Street listened: he was chief market analyst for Cantor Fitzgerald.
The job was ideal if you did not mind rising at 4:30 a.m., which Mr. Meehan, 49, did to write his column for The Cantor Morning News, an online newsletter. He was a fixture on the proliferating financial shows and got to banter with Louis Rukeyser on "Wall Street Week."
A Meehan opinion was grounded in books. "He would read everything and anything," his wife recalled, "not just financial but also biographies and Harry Potter, too." He bought the early Potter books for his daughter, Katie -- and ended up reading them himself. But for a man who spent many a vacation day between hard covers, Mr. Meehan was also big on the Internet. "He was the first guy I knew to buy his Christmas tree online," said Steven Montano, The Morning News's managing editor.
Mr. Meehan initially worked for Cantor in Darien, Conn., where he lived, getting home in time to coach his three children in Little League, flag football and basketball. But in August, as his TV appearances became more frequent, he shifted to the World Trade Center.
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Alkaban, a book that Bill Meehan might have read if he had lived, Dumbledore tells Harry, “‘You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most plainly when you have need of him."

September 11, 2001, is a date that has been made sacred by the passing of so many. Every day since, many of us have been in need of somebody who died that day. In the days to come, America will continue to have much need of those we have lost, and we will profit much if we look inside ourselves to capture the lessons they would impart.


  1. Excellent tribute. Thanks for the comment on my tribute to Aleksandr Ivantsov and Matthew Picerno.

    On a side note, as a fellow conservative, I've just added myself as a follower.

  2. Thank you for this moving tribute. I smiled when I read he bought his Christmas tree online. Today I honor Sgt. John Coughlin and Lt. Edward D'Atri, brave first responders.

  3. A very nice tribute to a man who no doubt, has been missed by many. I honor Franklyn Monahan on my blog at

  4. Thank you for sharing this tribute.

    I honor Scott M. Schertzer on my blog:

  5. My hats off to you Quite Rightly for your tribute, and to all the other bloggers who likewise participated.

    It is important to remember what 9/11 was about (rather than what it wasn't), and what it cost us. I believe this project illustrated this in a deep and profoundly moving way.

  6. This is a spendid post, and a loving introduction to Mr. Meehan. May God welcome him into eternal bliss and worship.

    I believe among the best things to know/learn about a person, is their gentle laugh, their wisdom, and their humor;
    William Meehan had all three.
    Awesome man, devastating loss, eight years ago.

    I honor Michael A. Tanner, of the same Cantor Fitz brokerage firm, at my bloggie.

  7. What a great guy!! It has been difficult but also rewarding to meet individuals... not numbers... through this project. Thank you for a tribute worthy of the man. Thank you for visiting mine for SGM Larry Strickland at:

  8. After the attack, a company was putting out bracelets with names of victims and I received William Meehan's name. I had a close family friend die in the attack, he was a flight attendant on Flight 175. It is a privilege to wear the name of another victim on my wrist throughout the year. I hope his family are doing well ten years after.

  9. I edited Bill on occasion when I worked at and He was a wonderful man. He and I had last chatted on Friday morning, four days before the attacks in Lower Manhattan. We had actually only spoken on the phone, although often, and made plans to have coffee or lunch on the following Tuesday, Sept. 11. In the mayhem that occurred, I forgot all about it --until I realized late that night that he had told me he had an engagement that same morning at Windows on the World. I still am haunted by that day; and I am so sorry Bill and I had never actually met in person. He seemed like a guy that would become a heck of a good friend.