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Fourth Down

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May peace be with you.

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It was a pensive weekend in the big city as hidden memories were brought to bear and tributes were paid to fallen friends. It's been four years since that fateful day, when history shifted and our perception of reality was forever altered. September 11, 2001 forced us to ponder a new paradigm in the world order while taking a long, hard look at how we view each other and ourselves. And yesterday, as an unspoken bond united us all, we took another step in the healing process.

I spent the afternoon edging downtown towards ground zero. I haven't been there since 2001 although, upon reflection, I realize that the aversion was subconscious. Defense mechanisms work in mysterious ways and I suppose my avoidance was an attempt to bury some of the remaining pain. Regardless, as I sat at the seaport and watched two blue holes burn through the sky, a confluence of emotions married the sadness of innocence lost with a profound gratitude that new beginnings await.

The events of September 11 triggered an abundance of change across our nation. Some folks got married while others got divorced. Some turned to drugs and alcohol while others sobered up. Some assessed their professional priorities while others focused on personal growth. The seismic shifts were as diverse and dynamic as our population but the ripples remain to this day. And as I've come to measure my years from September to September, this weekend was an opportunity to reflect.

There is a certain irony to the fact that I "arrived" as the president of a $400 million hedge fund in 2001. After years of playing the game and making a name, I sat on a select perch and was poised to accelerate my chosen path. But the title and attendant money that served as a validation of my professional efforts were hollow crutches once the towers fell. And in the years that followed, I learned the valuable lesson that net worth and self worth are not one and the same.

I've told the story before and it's familiar fare for most Minyans. However, as I edged through this most recent anniversary, I was again reminded of how fortunate we are to share a past and embrace the future. While I always believed myself to be humble, it's clear in hindsight that I took much for granted. If it's indeed true that something good comes from everything bad, perhaps perspective was the gift that we all received from September 11th.

As we push past this milestone, I would like to ask Minyans to remain mindful of each moment. Four years have flown by in the blink of an eye and another forty will be gone before we know it. At the end of our journey, we'll look back and reflect upon our lives, loves, friendships and families. This is the truest test of our success, the legacy that we will leave and the roots of our remembrance.

Make it count, my friends, for tomorrow is promised to nobody.


R.P.

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