Project 2996 – Remembering James A. Oakley

“A Gem and a Gentleman”


But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.

Abraham Lincoln

James A. Oakley was a Senior Vice President for Information Technology at Marsh & McLennan at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He was a family man who left behind his wife Denise and four daughters who were by all accounts what he cherished most in his life. His professional colleagues and coworkers all admired him for his dedication, his work ethic, his forthrightness and, most importantly, his kindness.

I never met the man, and it is rather difficult to write a tribute – and such an important one – from the periphery of a life. Yet as I read what little I could find about James, I realized that while there weren’t hundreds and hundreds of tributes to him on the internet, the few there were spoke volumes as to the kind of person he was. Everyone he met, from friends and colleagues he knew and worked with for years, to those lucky enough to have crossed paths for a few days, a few hours, a few minutes, not only remember him fondly and speak kindly of him, but truly appreciated having him in their lives, if only briefly.

An American history and Civil war aficionado, James Oakley participated in re-enactments at Gettysburg and Ticonderoga with his daughters and by all accounts was a man that appreciated this nation’s narrative. He strove to pass on that love of history and patriotism to his daughters.

I remember James A. Oakley
. American patriot, husband, father, friend.

…that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln



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