20 Years on: 9-11 Tribute

Five years ago I posted on my professional blog, Conversations with Kip, a tribute to Patrick J Quigley IV, who died aboard United Flight 175 from Boston to LA. Five years more, let’s remember anew.

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001 05:50 PM, I recorded the following:

World Trade Center is Destroyed

Today, the worst terrorist act, yea, even the worst single act of war, in the history of the U.S. has occurred.  Planes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York, collapsing both towers, killing or injuring thousands.  I was on my way [driving, as a consultant] to [a client] this morning when [my brother living in Brooklyn, New York] called me on my cell phone and told me I had to get to a news source.  I listened all the way down.  Very little work has been completed today.  One quote, which I read earlier today, was that there are few days in history that change everything.  This is one of them.

By that Friday, I wrote my brother an e-mail:

Subject:   National Funeral 

…I agreed with your note this morning about not being able to watch any more news coverage.  But as I watched again this evening with [my wife], I was struck by how it has changed.  We are seeing something new here, on every station.  I felt I had to write to one of the networks about it.  Here is what I wrote: 

This evening, we have begun an unprecedented national funeral, with eulogies broadcast into every home, and memorials printed in every paper.   

The broadcast media came of age with the funeral of JFK.  This evening, as I have watched seasoned news anchors near tears as they interviewed person after person searching for a loved one, I sense we are experiencing shared grief as never before in the history of the world. 

The hearts of all Americans embrace those who have lost a loved one I am searching for someway that I can participate in this. 

I spent the time today reading every name of those killed in the plane crashes.  I felt that was the least I could do, to take the time to read each name.  .I wonder what might be an appropriate thing to do for the thousands who have been killed.  

[My wife] and I have been near tears about once an hour since I came home last night, as we see things on TV, and read them in the paper or from e-mails.  Something is happening her in our nation. (Personal journal entry, September 14, 2001 08:30 AM)

By Thursday, September 20, 2001 I had determined what my response needed to be. At 11:59 PM I recorded:

President Bush spoke to a join session of Congress this evening.  I believe it was an historic speech.  I found it very moving.  I told [my wife] I am very grateful to have him as our president.  

He asked, rhetorically, “What can American’s do in response to this tragedy?”  The thought that came to my mind immediately was, “Go to work.”  Our country must be strong economically, and the best thing I can do to support our efforts is to go to work.

Go To Work

And go to work I did, continuing my work as a consultant, attempting to improve business systems for our nation and for the world.

I don’t remember specifically when, but I learned in the coming days of other consultants from my firm who were aboard one of the flights which went down on that day. Later, I would come to know more about one of those consultants, Patrick Quigley. An article in the Boston Globe on the one year anniversary had this to say about him.

[That day] Patrick J. Quigley IV, woke up early. He got unusually flustered trying to find and iron a clean pair of pants. He kissed his wife, Patti, goodbye. Then he hopped in a limo to make his plane, United Airlines Flight 175. The 40-year-old Wellesley businessman sat in the first row of first class for the last and unknowable chapter of his life.

Four families’ enduring grief” By Marcella Bombardieri, Globe Staff, Boston Globe 9/11/2002

Near the four year anniversary of that day, I was assigned to speak on the phone to a senior executive of now IBM, who had acquired the PwC consulting business, on some false pretext. I had to take the call from the Buffalo New York airport, on may way home from a week of consulting work. On the call I was notified I had been awarded the Patrick J. Quigley, IV Memorial Award, “the award created to honor and remember a BCS [Business Consulting Services] Americas colleague who was among those lost on United Airlines Flight 175 on September 11, 2001”. The nomination form sent early had said of the award:

We are seeking peer nominations of those individuals who best exhibit the values exemplified by Patrick throughout his life and career, values that we embrace in IBM and BCS:

  • Superior client service (external or internal)
  • Commitment to people
  • Teamwork and respect for one another
  • Integrity
  • Loyalty to the practice
  • Community service

…This year’s nominations will again be reviewed by a selection committee chaired by Patti Quigley and will include a diverse set of BCS leaders, along with last year’s recipient, Raj Katriyar. The 2005 honoree will be announced on Monday, September 12, 2005. His or her name will then be added to the engraved statue that resides in the reception area of our office at 11 Madison Avenue in New York City.

This award is a wonderful way to remember Patrick’s many contributions to our firm and his positive impact on all those around him. Through it we can keep Patrick’s positive spirit alive in IBM Business Consulting Services and demonstrate to his family that he will not be forgotten. (Nomination Announcement for the Patrick J. Quigley IV Memorial Award)

Award Acceptance

On Wednesday Feb 8th, 2006 I and my wife were flown to New York to a meeting and dinner with executives and Patrick’s wife and daughter to accept the award. I was given a moment beforehand to express what the award meant to me. Here is what I said:

I am grateful for this award, and to have a chance to express my feelings about it.  I enjoyed watching for a moment, as we gathered, to see Rachel [Patrick and Patti’s oldest daughter] at the center of attention.  Her presence helps remind us of what is really important.

I was a little surprised at my own reaction at receiving this award.  Before I dialed into the conference call that day, Mike and Patti, I had a moment where I felt a very deep sense of peace.  It made me wonder why I would feel that way before a mundane call to Mike on the status of a piece of software I manage.  When I heard Mike tell me it was Patti that had joined the call, I knew this was not about any software.

I called from the airport, on my way home from a week at [a client] in Buffalo.  After the call, I sat down in the airport, a bit stunned by what had just happened.  I decided, after calling my wife that I didn’t want to talk to anyone else.  Again, I was surprised at the depths of my feelings.  I felt that way for almost an entire week.  I found it difficult to concentrate at times.  I was humbled, and reflective.

Some of my feelings may have come because I knew Patrick.  I remember being on a call with him when he was working on the first phase of work for Price Waterhouse at [a different client].  I helped them for seven years based upon the work Patrick started there.  But he departed that project before I took over.  He also managed a short project at [another client] that I supported remotely.  I am sure I met him, but I don’t remember the specific time.  I do remember a number of people who deeply respected him, and made comments to me about him after his passing. 

Some of my feelings were perhaps the result of the reverence I feel for September 11th.  When I heard Patti’s name, my mind raced, and I realized what that Sunday was.  I told my wife that I felt an honor that so near that day Patti would take time to speak with me.

But I don’t believe either of these adequately explains the depths of my feelings.  As I pondered upon the last words of the memorial, “Finally, Patrick was a hero” I wondered what made him a hero?  I have concluded it really might not be only what happened on the plane that day.  More likely, it was what Patrick had done prior to boarding that plane.  What happened to the plane that day simply brought what Patrick was into stark relief—there was no tomorrow to redeem yesterday.  The accumulated acts he had done day-in and day-out stood on their own.

It is not easy to get on a plane every week.  It is not easy to drag a client, kicking and screaming through the changes they want to have made.  It is not easy to attack the hardest problems yourself.  It is not easy to empower a team and teach others how to do that too.  I believe Patrick’s heroism came from doing his duty, day-in and day-out.  And that included that Tuesday morning when he got on the plane.

[Speaking to Rachel] In the days after I learned of the award, I learned a bit about your mother, and her founding of Beyond September 11th.  I learned of you, and your sister.  I was impressed that your mother continued to put one foot in front of the other, to fulfill her obligations, and to do more than that.  I am grateful my wife was able to join me here today, and for her support in making this possible.

I am a deeply religious man. I love Isaiah’s phrase that Christ came to give us “beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61:3).  What could be more useless than ashes?  And yet, from the tragedy of that day your mother has preserved, and made something beautiful.  I hope having my name associated with his award adds to it luster and does not detract from it.  

Thank you for the honor. 

Ten Year Anniversary

In September, 2011, the winners of the Quigley Award jointly drafted the following statement to the senior IBM US Services Executive, and to Patrick’s widow Patti, expressing what the award had meant to them, and what they had done as a result of it:

Patti and Marc:

As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9-11, collectively the recipients of the Patrick J. Quigley, IV Memorial Award want to thank you again for the honor, report on its impact on us, and on our efforts to continue live up to the ideals of it.

Each of us was deeply impacted by the honor, knowing that our colleagues felt somehow what we had done was deserving of recognition. Some felt a renewed energy to continue to work hard; others felt a quiet appreciation for being noticed. The honor of being remembered on 9-11 and particularly speaking with you, Patti, touched each of us deeply.

We have attempted to continue to be an example of Patrick and the award. It is particularly fitting that this anniversary coincides with the IBM Centennial commemorated through service. As a group we have provided service in various forms:

•Some in the form of helping people solve their problems as part of our professional endeavors, from authoring books and thought leadership, to managing projects and working with systems.

  • Some have provided service in very quiet ways within their own family, such as caring for an ill parent at a critical time.
  • One has engaged us and our coworkers in describing the world through a forward looking “history” of the next 100 years of IBM, to be compiled into a book.
  • Others have assisted by leading the IBM Charitable Contribution Campaign for their organization, and having conversations with fellow workers about the IBM values and their enabling power.
  • Some leveraging the leadership we learned at IBM to ‘pay it forward’ and provide service as part of community non-profit boards
  • Three of us are now retired IBMers, continue to provide service in the new stages of our lives, and are proud of our association with IBM and the award.

At times we wish we were able to do more, but in light of the events ten years ago, it is wonderful that we continue to have the freedom to choose to do good, to choose to help others, to solve problems, and to stand for what is right and honest and uplifting. We are grateful to be working together with our colleagues and fellow citizens in doing so.

In conclusion, Gordon Kelly the recipient of the first award on the one year anniversary said the following, which we feel still stands true today: “When I was young, my mother often told me ‘a man can be judged by the company he keeps.’ Patti, you can tell your children from me that this is absolutely true. And if the day ever comes when your children feel the need to judge their father, I invite them to stand where I stand today — among the peers and partners of Patrick Quigley —- and they will know what those of us here will never forget —- that they can be very proud of their father. ”

The Quigley Award Winners (e-mail to IBM Senior Executive and Patti Quigley, Sept, 2011)

All the recipients seemed to have experienced something similar to me in receiving the award, learning about Patrick and Patti, and in remembering what happened that day. As I quoted in my acceptance speech,

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called treesof righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

Isaiah 61:1-3

In the hands of God, beauty can come from ashes, like the beauty of the 9-11 memorial from the ashes of the events that day. May our failings in his hands be turned to bless others, as Patrick’s life and the events of September 11, 2001 have motivated me to work hard, to be better, to bless others, and to be grateful.

The Patrick J. Quigley IV Memorial Award Winners

2002 Gordon Kelly

2003 Melissa Starr

2004 Rajil Katriyar

2005 Kip Twitchell

2006 Betsy Sleight

2007 Larry Chapman

2008 Bill Busby

2009 Abhinav Aggarwal

2010 Randall Ness

2011 Andrew Ellis

2012 Quimby Kaizer

2013 Mike Schroeck

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