In November, Jesse Kornbluth ’64 published his seventh book, Because We Are Americans: What We Discovered on September 11, 2001. A 234-page collection of postings on the Internet, words from leaders and the media, thoughts from survivors and heroes and excerpts from poems, speeches and songs, Because we are Americans is a book that inspires hope, pride and patriotism, captures how we felt, feel and could be a step toward helping readers heal.
As editorial director at America Online, Jesse Kornbluth had little time to process his own reactions to the tragedies of September 11 before going to work updating news and stifling rumors through his work at AOL. “What online services and some Web sites offered, in addition to news, was something just as important and maybe more so: the chance to reach out and talk to people who were at once distant strangers and immediate friends,” says Jesse in the book’s forward. Just on AOL, 1.2 billion instant messages were sent that day.
“On a normal day, most of us don’t think of the technological miracle called interactivity as anything extraordinary,” says Jesse. “We read and send emails as if we’ve been doing it forever, even though for most us it’s only been a few years… It took September 11 to demonstrate what the ability to “find” people online can mean in a time of crisis.”
Covering a variety of topics such as love, generosity, patriotism, and resiliency, this collection shares the thoughts and feelings of ordinary people:
“I consider my son a hero. What makes him a hero and a lot of his friends heroes is that in just a couple of days they organized an event that took place on Sunday the sixteenth – a battle of the bands – type of get-together – and made $33,000 for the victims.”
“I lost my closest and most dearest friend. His name was Michael, and he was visiting his mother at the WTC on September 11, 2001, when the first plane hit.”
All profits from the sale of the book will be distributed equally to The American Red Cross and the New York State World Trade Center Relief Fund.