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14 Years Ago Today


Fourteen years ago on this date, a smaller group of folks at Kessler, Cohen and Roth were beginning to gather around a small tv showing a grainy image in Two Penn Center trying to process what we would learn was the first attack of citizens on US soil that any of us had experienced. Stewart and I closed the office so everyone could connect with our families and process what was happening. I walked home by way of our synagogue and my kids’ school to see where communication or other help would be needed. It was a day where we were all Americans a feeling reinforced when I joined a crowd at the Red Cross center all waiting to donate blood. Each of has those now engrained memories of that day.

There are two things in particular that I reflect on when I think about that time.

The first is the recollection of how we all in fact felt like one nation. For a brief time, partisan politics and those other differences among us fell by the wayside as we came together to problem solve on levels both large and small. I am reminded of that time with each new news cycle that subjects us to sound bites seemingly designed to chip away at and broaden those fissures of difference until we are a divided people and have since urged that we demand more of ourselves, friends, elected officials, candidates and media in airing our disagreements. To paraphrase from the movie The American President , we have serious problems to solve and we need to be serious about solving them. Making people afraid, spouting rhetoric that divides and blames is about winning elections not solving problems.

The second, and one that reflects our ability to take action that is impactful, and who we are as a law firm, is the work that Chris Placitella has been doing almost from the day of the attacks supporting those injured and the families of those killed. At first organizing lawyers to provide pro bono services to those affected, supporting the efforts of widows and families of men lost and still, along with Jared Placitella, undertaking to assure that first responders receive benefits to which they are entitled through the 911 victims compensation program. . Each of us has an opportunity and ability to make a difference, it is why we do what we do. We should never forget that.

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