The following was adapted from Edie Lutnick’s book, “An Unbroken Bond:”
In the days following 9/11, the country saw the ticker running along the bottom of the TV screen identifying victim after victim as being from Cantor Fitzgerald. The average person may not have known that 658 people died at Cantor, but they knew there were a lot.
So, people sent a lot of teddy bears. They came in all different shapes and sizes, from Beanie Babies on up to sizes of the difficult-to-carry variety. The teddy bear has become an unofficial symbol of 9/11.
One day, I was told there was a truck delivery for us and that the drivers were coming up. I had absolutely no idea what it could be. A husband and a wife had driven a truck across their home state of Michigan collecting teddy bears — for us — and now they were delivering the thousands of bears they had collected.
I hugged and thanked these wonderful people and every bear went to a Cantor family member or was donated to other charities that needed them.
It has been a decade since Sept. 11, when my family, countless other families and the world along with us changed forever. On that fateful morning, I lost my brother, Gary Lutnick, a senior executive at Cantor Fitzgerald who died beside 657 friends and colleagues. It was only by fortune that my other brother, Howard Lutnick, chairman and CEO of the company, survived.
On this milestone anniversary, I think it’s important for us to hear the stories not yet told, many of which show the depth of humanity and individual strength that was borne of that historic event. From the couple who drove across the country collecting teddy bears for children, to the many volunteers who worked long hours. Only through these untold stories can we understand the full breadth of what happened on that devastating day.
Edie Lutnick is a co-founder, officer, and the executive director of The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, a not-for-profit charity established Sept. 14, 2001 to address the short and long term needs of victims of terrorism, natural disasters and emergencies. Lutnick is also the author of “An Unbroken Bond, The Untold Story of How the 658 Cantor Fitzgerald Families Faced the Tragedy of 9/11 and Beyond“.