Saturday, September 9, 2006

2,996. I remember...Jonathan Neff Cappello

(From the CNN Sept 11 Memorial page)
Name: Jonathan N. Cappello
Age: 23
Residence: Garden City, NY, United States
Occupation: Cantor Fitzgerald
Location: World Trade Center, Tower 1, 105th floor
Who was Jonathan Cappello? I was privileged to receive this remembrance of him from his girlfriend,Dana.

What can I say about Jono that hasn’t been said…. I feel in love with him from the moment I met him.  I know we were young, but his first words to me were “My father told my mother and now I’m telling you, I’m going to marry you”


That was Jono, he knew what he wanted and he went after it.  I feel like the moment I accepted he was gone, my world collapsed.  It’s so funny how 24 hours can change your life forever.  11PM on September 10th I was saying goodnight and I love you to my future.  I never spoke to him again. 


Jono was the most amazing person I knew.  I know people say that when someone dies they become immortal, they never did any wrong and they were ‘angelic’ all the time.  Jono was no saint, but he was my savior.  He has the most wonderful family, which made everyone feel as if they were part of it.    Jono, truly had this presence about him which made him stand out from the crowd.  If you were sad, he lifted your spirits; if you were angry he instantly put you in a better mood.  He never wanted anyone he loved even people he didn’t even know want to feel one ounce of pain.  For many months after 9/11 I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t feel.  I was numb.  He carried me out of those times, he put a smile back on my face and made me realize that life is short.  The only thing that matters is what you do here and now, not 10 years down the road. No one is going to care about or remember the list of financial accomplishments you have under your belt.  It’s how you treat people now; the good, the bad, the rich, the poor, the handicapped, the deformed.

I know that Jono is also shining down on our troops and doing everything in his power to help protect them.  He always said that he would without question fight for our country and he always thought New York City was the greatest place in the world.


I love him now as much as the day I met him.  He owns a part of my heart and will continue to watch out for his family, my family and myself.   

 He will remain forever young.


If you're wondering why he was called 'Jono"? From, in this account of his memorial service, his personality seems to shine through in his family's words.


Jonathan Neff Cappello
On His Birthday, Family Says Goodbye

September 27, 2001

For the Cappello family, Sept. 29 always has been a day of celebration, the day its youngest member, Jonathan Neff Cappello, was born.

This year, it is also the day his family will bid him a final goodbye, but there is no remorse, said his mother, Claudia.

"I truly believe he is telling me, 'I began my life, and I'm ending this part of life ,'" said Claudia Cappello. "I feel wonderful and blessed. It was a privilege to have been his parent."

While some continue to hold out hope, Claudia and Robert Cappello decided last week to hold a memorial service for their son who was lost in the World Trade Center attack.

Jonathan Cappello, 23, had just started training on the international bond desk at Cantor Fitzgerald after traveling the country in a Winne- bago and doing carpentry work.

Cappello, a graduate of Fairfield University in Connecticut, was a paradox, said his father, Robert Cappello. "Jon was as tough as they come, but as gentle and caring as they come," he said, describing his son as Frank Sinatra in a world of Vic Damones.

Earning the nickname "Jono" as a child - from his parents constantly screaming "Jon, no!" in response to his childhood mischief - Jon, said the Cappellos, was certainly no angel.

But the child who once lacquered the bathroom with red nail polish in anger, was the same child who always chose his handicapped neighbor first for the team in ball games and made sure a blind student sitting next to him in school always knew what was written on the blackboard.

He grew into a man who once gave a shoeless vagabond his brand new gym shoes and regularly took food from his mother's cabinet to give to the homeless.

"Jon found worth in everybody," said Claudia Cappello. The youngest of her three sons, Jon, she said, "had wisdom beyond his years."

From an early age, Jon had a remarkable understanding of life and spirituality. He carried a poem about God's love in his wallet since he was 12, told his mother long ago that he was not afraid to die, because when it's time to go, it's time to go, and kept every note she ever wrote to him wedged between the pages of his first Communion Bible.

"He didn't just drink at life, he gulped it down," said his close friend, Catherine Kelleher, in a letter to the Cappello family.

Jon Cappello sang off-key at the top of his lungs, loved all sports (but hated the Yankees) and found joy in music ranging from rock, to blues, to his favorite, Frank Sinatra.

He was "a Peter Pan who refused to grow up, yet would surprise you with his maturity," Kelleher wrote.

Jon charmed adults and children alike, leaving an impression on everyone he met. In the days since the tragedy, his parents have hosted a cornucopia of friends, co-workers and complete strangers who all want to share how Jon touched their lives.

"When Jon said, 'I love you,' he screamed it," Claudia Cappello said. "He wanted so much out of life, I don't know why. Maybe he just knew."

The Cappello Family has established the Jonathan Neff Cappello Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 7659, Garden City, N.Y. 11530, to provide financial assistance to a Garden City resident planning to attend Fairfield University.--Nedra Rhone(Newsday)


I found tributes on the web to him from someone who had known him long ago and had lost touch with him

Thursday, September 13, 2001
Jonathan Cappello was actually a friend of mine for years. We started out at St. Joes together, and both moved to Stratford Elementary at the same time...I vividly remember playing with He-man, GI Joe, and WWF Figures in his house and Back Yard. He was Usually "Rowdy Rowdy Piper" and I was "Andre the Giant." He and his Family took me out to dinner when we moved to London because he was going to miss me a whole lot. I ate Spaghetti and he told me the Joke about the polish guy and the kid with no ear lobes that evening. He was a really nice guy to me when I moved back. We were never good friends again but we had some classes together and I remember lots of laughs. He was in My 12th grade Calc Class. I saw him Christmas 99 at a Bar In GC...He And I talked about how we had nothing to do after graduation and eventually wished each other luck. I intended the Luck to be of the good Variety. This news is very sad to me and makes this hellish event all the more real. Jon has been missing since the Attack on the WTC and is presumed dead.
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
I would like to take a moment to remember my old friend Jonathan Cappello who died on this day last year. He was not my brother, or my son, he was my best friend in 4th grade and I had almost completely lost touch with him. I was so relieved to hear that everyone in my family was alive that day...that, was difficult information to obtain from way down here in NC, but when Jono's name was casually mentioned amongst some others in a foward from my sister I was shocked. I guess I justed wanted to say that I still think about him and to let his family and close friends that I still hold on to my childhood memories.
And a tribute from someone who had never met him
Good news is though, I have found something really worthwhile to post. Its somber if you miss the real meaning, which is to have a great time - JONO Style. Now, while many of you don't know who Johnathan was, your in luck - he was unknown to me till I met his family and close friends.

So you probably thinking just getting to the point Krackhead. Well, the point is John died three years ago in NYC along with many other people. Fortunately, Jono's family keeps his spirit alive and circulating by staying true to the kid. They gave out baseball hats - an article of clothing that John (Or me for that matter) always wore at a previous fundraiser. They talk about him and it makes me wish I knew him only to see if I was cool enough to hang out with him.
And his family and friends return year after year to post on his tribute site on
I came away from all my research wishing that I,too,could have known him. I am extremely grateful that I received his name to honor for the  2,996 tribute . I now will especially hold in my heart on Sept.11 someone I would otherwise have never known about or met, but whose joy for life and love for others still resounds down the years as his legacy.
This was part of the 2,996 tribute project, if you would like to see other tributes, you can click on the link here
UPDATE  September 11, 2007
Jono, I can't think of this day now, without thinking of you. Researching and learning about the life of someone I never met has continued to touch my heart. I spent the past year receiving notifications whenever someone signed your guestbook
and it both saddens me, and yet warms my heart for you, to see the very many people who still love,miss, and remember you . Dana said you touched so many lives, and that continues to be true,even of people who never met you.
I finally found a picture of the plaque that has your name, at the
 Garden City High School Arboretum  (number 23 on the map)

and I like to think that seeing that plaque by the Kashmiri Cypress

will lead future students to ask "Who was Jono?" in the years to come, and hear your story.

I continue to hold your family and friends, and especially Dana,who loved and continues to love you so much, in my prayers.


Tag  Tag  Tag Tag


pharmolo said...

Great tribute, well written

stevietwain said...

Excellent tribute..well done!

Lv Stevie

bamapachyderm said...

Jono sounds like he was like my own brother, full of life and as we say, "could make a party happen in a stuck elevator."  The world needs more Jonos.  Thanks for sharing his story; it's tragic, but at the same time reading about him brought a smile to my face.  God knows we need smiles today, right?

bernieplanck said...

Beautiful tribute, thanks.

I linked your tribute at <a href="">2996 tribute to victims of 9/11 - Terrence E Adderley</a>

mmartinez07 said...

What a lovely tribute, very well written and touching.

HUgs, Mandy ~

mmartinez07 said...

Kathi, there are Cantor Fitzgerald blogs and memorials being set up so all of their tributes can be together. Here's one of them

Go to this entry on my journal for info on the Yahoo 2,996 Group that was formed:

BTW, the 2,996 site is back up today. I checked it this morning.

Hugs, Mandy