Italy/9-11/and Colin Kaepernick

I was in Italy working on a potential business deal two weeks ago when Tom Bergeron, the editor of NJBIZ, called me.

“We’re going to look back at 9/11 on this, the 15th anniversary.  Would you be willing to write down your thoughts about the day?  It’s amazing but I’ve realized our staff here – many in their 20’s – don’t really remember it.  We’d like to re-visit what it was like.”

There are times when I can’t remember what happened 15 minutes ago.  But that day…and the day before…and the days after…are etched into my memory so vividly that I often think it’s a bad dream.  I can hear the sounds…see the images…but also remember the leadership demonstrated by so many people I worked with.

On the plane ride home, I started jotting down some thoughts, which Tom skillfully edited into the piece that ran this week.

One of the most vivid memories I have is the look of determination on the faces of the first responders, working on that pile after the attacks, trying to find one more survivor.  Another is the loyalty and patriotism displayed by the members of the NYSE, who, on September 17 when we re-opened the markets, felt an obligation to be there to show how great our country is, and that we would not be defeated.

We were not characterized by race or ethnicity or religion that day.  We were Americans. Before the opening bell rang, we sang God Bless America and saluted our flag.  There were 3,500 people on the trading floor that day.  Not one sat.

Colin Kaepernick was 13 on 9/11, growing up in a country where he had the opportunity to perfect his God-given talents in football and earn an outstanding living playing a sport he loves.  As do all Americans, he has every right to protest and fight for change.

But if he’d like to be an American leader, he might want to sit down with some of those people who have fought for this country, who protect us every day, or who led the rescue effort on 9/11.  He might understand what that flag stands for, and why embracing it is much more powerful than ridiculing it.

Post by Bob Zito on 9/7/16

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