The following is a note I shared with all employees yesterday in remembering and reflecting on 9/11.
Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and on Flight 93, which took the lives of nearly 3,000 innocent citizens, including one of our own, Suria Clarke, a brilliant 30-year-old Briton who had gone to client Cantor Fitzgerald a few weeks prior. Edelman has been deeply involved in the rebirth of the neighborhood and recovery of normalcy.
In the days that followed, Edelman team members volunteered on a 24/7 basis. We first set up at The Plaza and then at The Pierre Hotel to assist grieving family members of Cantor Fitzgerald who lost loved ones at the World Trade Center. We worked with CEO Howard Lutnick to present a survival plan for the beleaguered firm and with Swiss Re on the ultimate resolution of the insurance to be paid to World Trade Center owner, Larry Silverstein.
We were contracted to launch an information campaign-centered website, LowerManhattan.info, that provided all relevant information about the recovery process. We had only three months to complete the job before the first anniversary. We then worked for five years to tell the story of the rebuilding of the neighborhood.
We volunteered our time to introduce the 9/11 Memorial, the immense voids with rushing water that stand on the footprint of the WTC towers. Two years later, we managed the opening of the 9/11 Museum, which has attracted millions of visitors, telling the story of that day, the heroism of the first responders, the tales of those who were lost, the determination of the city to build back.
I knew several of the victims. They were parents at my children’s school. They worked at the investment bank which employed my ex-wife. They were executives at Cantor Fitzgerald, our client. I took a walk down to the 9/11 Memorial on Saturday with my daughter Tory. Those long-submerged memories began to flow back into my mind, their faces, their smiles, their kids, and spouses left behind.
I am comforted by the knowledge that this terrible day brought forth the best of Edelman, our willingness to offer comfort in the awful days that followed, our ability to deliver accurate information so that Downtown Manhattan could rebuild, our insistence on the truth during the insurance trial, and our pro-bono assistance in launching the 9/11 Memorial and Museum so that future generations will know the story. Please say a prayer on Saturday for all of those who perished.