NEW YORK – It’s a name inextricably linked with the huge, catastrophic loss of Sept. 11 — Cantor Fitzgerald.

Of the companies and organizations that lost people that day, none was harder hit than the financial services firm that occupied the 101st to 105th floors of the north tower at the World Trade Center. Out of 960 employees in New York, 658 were killed — no employee in Cantor’s offices at the time survived. Whole divisions were decimated.

Led by CEO Howard Lutnick, those who were still alive made a decision — the company would survive. They wouldn’t let what they had worked so hard to create crumble. And they would honor those they had lost.

Ten years later, Cantor has regained its size and then some. The company and a spinoff, BGC Partners, employ 1,500 people in New York City and have other offices in countries around the world.

Cantor has kept its word to the families of those employees lost on 9/11 — distributing millions of dollars of the firm’s profits to them, and covering health care costs for the past 10 years.

“The best way to show someone you love them is to care for the people they love,” Lutnick said.

On the day of the attacks, Lutnick was delayed getting to the office because he had taken his son to his first day of kindergarten. That delay spared him. Others escaped the attacks because they happened to schedule an out-of-office trip for that day, or were in the building but hadn’t yet made it up to the offices.

When the first plane hit the north tower at 8:46 a.m., it destroyed the stairwells, making it impossible for anyone above the point of impact around the 94th to 98th floors to descend. The north tower collapsed at 10:28 a.m.

Lutnick made it to the scene after the first plane hit and was there when the tower fell. He can still feel and see the horror of that day.

“It was black outside, there was no air outside, so I knew that people inside the trade center couldn’t possibly be alive,” Lutnick said recently from the company’s offices in midtown Manhattan.

Among them were his brother, Gary, and his best friend, Doug Gardner, Cantor’s CFO.

But the survivors returned to work, even as families and friends grieved for those who were suddenly gone, to get their systems running again. They were back online in days.

“My goal after 9/11 was to take care of the families of the people we lost, and that was the most important thing,” Lutnick said.

That translated into a big financial commitment — 25 percent of Cantor’s profits for five years were set aside to be distributed to the families, which in the end amounted to $180 million. Their health care costs were to be covered for 10 years.

And the company marked every Sept. 11 as a day for charity, a day when every dollar made would be given to good causes.

Of those who survived that day, only about 150 are still at the company.

But the impact of the attacks runs through Cantor, Lutnick said.

The company’s yearly commemoration goes a long way toward helping new employees understand that, he said.

Every year, family members of those lost are invited to speak about their loved ones.

“Together, we celebrate their lives,” Lutnick said.

“At the end of the night, the brand-new employee? They get it,” he said. “It’s not trying to leave the past behind but it’s not allowing the past to define you. It’s bringing the families with us and going forward together, not seeking closure but seeking friendship.”