This blog is part of the series "The Impact of 9/11," focusing on individuals who have channeled their grief to make a positive difference in the years following the attacks.
On 9/11, I was at NASDAQ Marketsite in Times Square to open the stock market with the CEO and CFO of a public company. We were looking at the television monitors of the North Tower burning. I was on the phone with my secretary who was in my office at Ground Zero. Boom. The second plane slammed into the South Tower. Lillian screamed over the phone -- she was on the fiftieth floor of One Liberty Plaza directly across from the South Tower -- as flames and debris blew out 350 plate glass windows below. Uptown in Times Square, I stood in stunned disbelief as the chills went up my spine.
America was under attack.
The men that I was with that morning were partners with Tom Burnett, a father to three young girls. Tom was one of three heroes who took down Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. One of my favorite former investment banking clients, Edmund Glazer, father to Nathan, was on Flight 11 from Boston that slammed into the North Tower. Mike McCabe, our best NASDAQ trader, and a father to three young boys, was in the North Tower at Cantor Fitzgerald's offices when the plane hit. I soon discovered that ten of my Wall Street friends and co-workers had been killed. Fathers mostly. Wives and kids left behind.
How random is life that we find ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time? No rhyme, no reason. My first child was born that year. I'm here. They're not. My kids have a father. Theirs don't. But for the grace of God go I.
Every one of us can choose to do something. I worked with the NASDAQ listed companies to put in share repurchase plans to support the stock market when it reopened. I raised money for 9/11 families from NASDAQ-listed companies. Ultimately, I joined the Board of Tuesday's Children -- it was the only charity I could find that provided non-financial support services to 9/11 families -- attending to their broader needs.
For me, the best way to honor the fallen is to invest in their children: By raising them up, we defeat the enemy. As a community, we prevail.
Tuesday's Children was formed to fulfill a promise to see every 9/11 kid into productive adulthood. This became what is now known as "The Promise" -- The Promise that we encourage all Americans to make by contributing something every year to Tuesday's Children.
Today, Tuesday's Children is one of the 1 percent of charities founded in the wake of 9/11 that still stands. Our core competency is in providing long-term support to assist in recovery. 9/11 was the single largest act of terrorism that the world has ever seen by a factor of ten. And so, because of the shear scope of this tragedy, our experience and knowledge is unprecedented and invaluable. Today, the Staff of Tuesday's Children applies this knowledge to help 9/11 families, Responders (Firemen, Policemen, Construction Workers, Paramedics, etc.) and their families, wounded warriors and we hope, with your support, the families of the fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Write a check. Provide internships. Provide jobs for our young adults. Most of all do something. Anything. Make The Promise. Learn more at Tuesday's Children.