Person of the Week: Michael Pascuma

Michael Pascuma is often given the honor of ringing the bell at the American Stock Exchange in New York. This week he rang the bell because the market eclipsed 11,000 points.

"I'm up at six in the morning," Pascuma said. "I say my prayers. I get dressed and shave. I come down here about 7:30 and I say a few more prayers here. Then I go to work."

Pascuma began working as a clerk when he was 16 years old -- that was 80 years ago. Today he's 96 and still going.

"I remember as a child when I would come here and have lunch with my grandfather ... Mike was here and he would come and he would buy me candy," said trader Jonathan Frey. "I always ask, when are you gonna take a vacation? He said, 'I took a vacation: World War II.'"

Pascuma still shows up for work on the trading floor every morning at 7:30 a.m. sharp. Lunch is always an apple turnover -- always at 12:30 p.m.

He has embraced some changes, like women in the workplace, but not all.

"The biggest thing that's changed is all the computers and all these different machines," Pascuma said. "That's the big thing."

He sticks to his notepad and pen.

"I never learned the computer. I'm too old," Pascuma said, laughing.

After just three years on the job, the unthinkable occurred -- the stock market crash of 1929: "I was on the floor here as a clerk," he said. "It was terrible, terrible, terrible."

Pascuma managed to keep working through the Depression and married in 1938. He and his wife, Ada, had one son, Michael Pascuma Jr.

Another Unthinkable Event

Pascuma was on the floor when another unthinkable event occurred -- the attacks of 9/11. His son, who had followed his father into the business, was at the World Trade Center.

"My son called from the trade center, and all of a sudden we hear the crash," Pascuma said. "That was the first tower that got hit. And my son said, 'I'm here, I'm here,' but then the other one came."

Michael Pascuma Jr. lost his life that day.

"He was 50 years old," Pascuma said.

When the market reopened days after the attacks, Pascuma was again asked to ring the opening bell.

"A lot of people get up in the morning and say, 'I gotta go down there again.' That must be terrible to have to work like that," he said, "It's great when you like what you're doing!"

ABC News' Elizabeth Vargas filed this report for "World News Tonight."

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