Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 11...Thoughts on New York

Yes...I know.  There is a plethora of articles, recollection of memories and gatherings to commemorate this tenth anniversary of that fateful day.  I hadn't planned to write anything myself, but an article in our local newspaper caught my attention.  It was tucked away in the business section and probably missed by all but the most diehard reader (which I am every Saturday morning, with a steaming cup of coffee next to me)...and yes, this is the paper version of the paper and not the on-line version...though I thought the article important enough to include the link:

The article is about Cantor Fitzgerald, a trading company that occupied the 101st to 105th floors of the north tower of the World Trade center.  Perhaps no other company suffered as great a loss as they had, with 658 of the 960 NYC employees perishing that day...all who happened to be in the office at the time.   One cannot imagine such decimation of a company's workforce.  The only reason Cantor Fitzgerald's CEO Howard Lutnick is alive is because he was bringing his son to his first day of kindergarten.  He was walking to the office when the plane struck the north tower.

What I find especially compelling about this story is what Cantor Fitzgerald did in the following weeks and years.  As a commitment to the employees who were lost, the company dedicated 25% of its profits for five years following that event to supporting the families of those the tune of $180 million!  The company also paid for the health care for those families for 10 years.  On top of all that, the profits for the day on each September 11th each year were given to good causes.


It is in the midst of tragedy that people reveal what they are made of.  Mr. Lutnick's comment couldn't sum it up any better:  "I didn't think there was a choice. Either we take care of our friends' families or I'm not a human being."

Having visited NYC on a couple of occasions and our son David now living and working there, I have developed a deeper appreciation for the uniqueness of that city.  This story reinforces that appreciation.  Below are a couple of photos taken in 2010 during one of those visits.

This is taken in Battery Park.  It is a scupture that was in the plaza between the World Trade Center towers and was salvaged while sifting through the wreckage.  The holes and dents are stark reminders of the destruction that day.

This is Ground Zero in June, 2010. 

The experience of September 11, 2001 and the years following have taught us much...of ourselves as individuals, as a nation...and also as corporations.   The examples of those who survived inspire me to be a better person and to not take family and friendships lightly.

(For more about our visit to NYC, visit my blog:

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