We Remember

10 years ago today, a group of Timberland employees were in New York City, preparing to head to the Clara Barton School in the Bronx for a day of community service.

Our CEO Jeff Swartz was among them.  The following is an excerpt from an email he sent later that day to the Timberland community:

As we stood on 5th Avenue this morning, and saw the flames and smoke from the World Trade Center, as we waited to board buses to take us from the safety and security and comfort of midtown Manhattan to the one of the bleakest neighborhoods in urban America—as we stood there, our hearts melted.  And our fears multiplied.  And our hearts raced.

But we went, from midtown to the Bronx.  And by the time the ride was over, the news was clearer, and the emerging clarity did just the opposite of what it usually does—instead of feeling more confident as we knew more, we felt less comfort, more nausea.

When we got off the buses, I told everyone what we knew, and asked the 125 men and women assembled what was in their hearts.  Should we stay, and do the planned day of service at the Clara Barton School in the Bronx, or should we try to find a way out of New York, away from the horror and the fear?  And in small quiet groups of people, the decision was made, to stay, and to serve.

And so a small group of people, on a small concrete patch in the Bronx, responded to hatred with love today.  They met anger with kindness.  They exacted revenge—but the revenge of sweat in good purpose, rather than the revenge of blood spilled in rage.  While we called our families, and consoled each other, and reeled at the news, we stood together, and we served together.  We showed a group of children that there are competing models for how the adult world can work.  There is the model of destruction, and hatred, and despair, and by contrast, there is the model of creation, and community and even congregation—different people, committed to the common goal and good. (Clara Barton’s) Principal Parker told us that he would always remember today for the evil that was done, and he would never forget today for the goodness that was wrought.

Our hearts grieve with all who have lost, and our prayers, from our different traditions and faiths and personal points of view are united in gratitude to those brave men and women who struggle to protect us, and care for the hurt, and rescue the injured.   May all who are grieved be comforted.  May each and every broken body and heart and mind be mended, completely and speedily.  And may each of us find within ourselves the strength to affirm what is expected of us—to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly, with our God and with our fellows.

10 years later, our hearts and minds return to New York City.  In honor of the fallen and the heroes, the communities divided by tragedy and terror – and those united in spite of it – we remember.

  • Fiorenzo Giacci

    i remember…

  • Ed Donaghy

    That’s Ameicans responding as Americans> We’re proud of you.  Ed Donaghy

  • Ed donaghy

    On a far humbler level… Just bought my first pair of Timberland shoes and love them.
    I took the time to read your wonderful statement printed inside the box. It inspired me recall the UNICEFad I saw five minutes earlier. They had just put on a very moving ad today (September 11 ) on how little it takes to save starving children. My thanks to your president and all involved in pointing out: “BETTER IS SEEING A VOID AND FILLING IT. HEARING A CALL FOR HELP AND ANSWERING IT. I sent my check to UNICEF at once.  Keep up the good work!

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