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"May all of us have the strength and resolve to act in ways that contribute to our nation's recovery and the world's return to sanity."

-Ira A. Jackson

 

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Special Message on September 11th

 
 

Recently I attended a deeply moving memorial service at Temple Israel in Boston for Richard Ross, one of the victims on American Airlines Flight 11. Many members of our community knew Richard as a member of the Leadership Council of the Center for Business and Government. I include myself among those who had the privilege of calling Richard a friend. He was warm, energetic, unpretentious and considerate. A successful self-made entrepreneur, Richard built a business and played a responsible role in philanthropy. Most importantly, he was a wonderful husband and father. His three beautiful, intelligent and compassionate children spoke eloquently at the service of their father's unconditional love for them and how he always, every day, made each of them and their mother feel as though they were special and the center of his universe. Abigail said, "Daddy, You are my long drive, my slow dance, my summer wind and my starry sky. You are my light and I am your mirror."

We all share the agony and heartbreak and loss. It is a time for reaching out to one another, to discuss emotions and concerns and to do what we can to help relieve the pain and to contribute to the healing and recovery.

Each of us will find our own form of expression.

CBG staff has met to learn, in part, about ways in which we can make a difference by donating blood or making a donation or participating in constructive activities that are underway throughout the University. A CBG fellow has helped to catalyze a major commitment by the University as a whole.

I encourage all members of the CBG community to consider other ways in which we might be helpful. You possess expertise and intellectual capital and credibility -- all of which are in short supply at this moment and all of which are needed now more than ever. A major portion of New York City will need to be rebuilt. Investor and consumer confidence will have to be restored. New forms of public/private partnership and new methods of business/government cooperation will need to be devised. An economy on the brink of recession and industries on the verge of bankruptcy will need skillful guidance and fresh approaches to dealing with unprecedented challenges. A different kind of leadership may be required as well as a new role for business and a new alignment of public, private and non-profit institutions and resources.

Whether the issue is information technology or the implications for international trade and finance or the impact on productivity or the emergence of a new kind of corporate citizenship or the need for rethinking and revising regulatory schemes -- on these and so many other aspects of the crisis, many of you possess knowledge that is precious and valuable.

I ask all of us to consider ways in which our resources can be applied to help make a difference. And I welcome any constructive ideas about how CBG itself can and should become engaged in that process.

It is the start of the Jewish New Year and the beginning of what is called "The Days of Awe." It mirrors a time of reflection and contemplation and new resolve in our society as a whole. Whatever our personal convictions, I know that we all share the same concerns for justice, understanding and peace.

There have been other passages within our CBG family. The wife of one of the authors for our economic conference in June was among the airline victims last Tuesday. Rob Stavins recently mourned the death of his mother from natural causes. And we joyously await the arrival of one of our faculty member's first child this fall.

Our thoughts are with them and others and with one another.

Let me close with the wisdom of Richard Ross' son Franklin: "The lessons you learn in death are the ones you should know in life. My father knew those lessons in life and that made all the difference. Love, integrity, honesty, faith and caring for others, that's what my father stood for."

May Richard rest in peace. And may all of us have the strength and resolve to act in ways that contribute to our nation's recovery and the world's return to sanity.

 

Ira A. Jackson, Director

Center for Business and Government

 
 
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