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9/11: A Year After / WHO WE ARE NOW

Zach Meltzer

'When you are a parent and you bury a child, you take a part of your body and you put it into the ground.'

September 11, 2002

Boston-based men's clothing manufacturer Zach Meltzer, 63, lost his 32-year-old son

Sept. 11. Stuart Todd Meltzer was head of the West Coast division of Cantor Fitzgerald's TradeSpark, working on the 105th floor at the World Trade Center. The family plans to travel to New York for a memorial service at ground zero this year as well as the Cantor Fitzgerald memorial service in Central Park.

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"It's still horrific for us, very difficult. I was getting on an airplane flying from Massachusetts to Michigan. My wife called me at the airport and told me to come home because something had happened to one of my sons.

I was only 10 minutes away from the house. I got home, and we watched the building collapse. My son Stuart was only 32 years old. He left behind two little boys who are now 4 and 1.

The older boy, Jacob, they were best friends. He still talks about his dad every day. My son was on the 105th floor of the WTC. He called my daughter-in-law and said, 'Something terrible has happened. I don't think I'm going to make it. Take care of the kids.'

He was one of the only people found from the 105th floor. They found him on March 12, which happens to be my wife's birthday and our wedding anniversary. We saw it as kind of a sign.

He had worked in Los Angeles at [talent agency] Creative Artists Agency and then worked at Miramax Films. He had switched careers and just accepted the job at Cantor Fitzgerald 3 1/2 months before [Sept. 11].

I respect the firemen and policemen who lost their lives. Most of the money went to them. I myself donated to the fund. The people who died deserve an equal amount of retribution, but it didn't happen that way.

I ended up setting up a fund for my son for his children, and Harvey and Bob Weinstein at Miramax Films were extremely generous and kind to my son's family. Extremely generous.

When you are a parent and you bury a child, you take a part of your body and you put it into the ground. It's the hardest thing. It's hard to explain what it's like. I talked to my son every day and I don't hear from him anymore. He'll never see his sons grow up. It doesn't get easier. It gets harder."

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As told to Anita Busch

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