On this difficult anniversary, CMM Managing Partner Joe Campolo shared these words with our team.
18 years ago, I was an associate at a firm in Uniondale. I had arrived early that morning because I was stressed out about a motion that needed to go out that day. When the first plane hit, my secretary Shelia came into my office and calmly told me that plane had hit one of the towers but she assumed it was an accident. There was a small TV in one of the conference rooms where some people had gathered and were watching the news. It was then, as I was watching, that the second plane hit and everyone gasped. From the windows of the west side of our office (we were in the west tower of the old EAB, which is now RXR Plaza) you could see the city skyline and the smoke billowing in the distance. My mind was racing, doing quick math and realizing very quickly that this was not going to be good. It was then I felt an immediate reaction, or compulsion rather, to get out of there and make sure my daughter was safe. I called my ex-wife and she was on her way to pick up Kat from her Montessori school, and I drove like a bat out of hell from Uniondale to Setauket so I could see she was safe with my own eyes. I will never forget the immense comfort and joy I felt when I finally saw Kat and was able to hug her.
In recalling this, I cannot imagine the level of joy the people who had family members and loved ones must have felt when they were able to see the ones who made it out of the towers safely. Conversely, I cannot imagine the pain and loss felt by the families who were never able to see or hug their loved ones again. It is a senseless tragedy with loss that rises past our comprehension.
9/11 was not just a tragic accident, it was a monumental event on all humans who were alive to experience it, and its aftermath has devastating effect on humanity. Society as a whole now trusts less and hates more. It cause humanity to become much more decisive and intolerant, none of which is good.
Today I ask that we all remember all the innocent men and woman who were murdered, and the brave fire fighters and police who risked and gave their lives to try and help save others. I do not ask that we just remember their names, but I ask that we remember the good that was in their hearts, the fact that no one cared if a person was a democrat or republican, or black or white, but simply that we were all human beings trying to help each other. That, to me, is the lesson of 9/11, one that has been entrusted to all us survivors: to use that experience and the memories of those who died to remind us every day that it is up to us to help make this world a better and more peaceful place before it’s too late.