What Can I Do?

My daily commute from Long Island to Manhattan has become a humbling experience.

My daily commute from Long Island to Manhattan has become a humbling experience. Many of my fellow commuters are electricians, ironworkers and carpenters, who are assisting the recovery efforts at the World Trade Center. As for me, I merely edit a trade magazine.

Other than giving blood and making a donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund (see www.amazon.com/red-cross), Im not sure how I can lend a hand during this tragic time.

Surely, many technology editors will spend the next few weeks analyzing IT contingency plans, disaster-recovery strategies and the Internets incredible value during times of crisis.

Smart Partner will cover some of those topics, but we will not present technology as a cure-all for international terrorism. Frankly, its difficult for us to write about technology in any context right now. Several of our editors have family members and friends who remain lost amid the rubble in New York. And many of our readers—at companies like BEA Systems, Cisco Systems and Sun Microsystems—have suffered staff losses of their own.

Former 3Com PR manager Mark Bingham, for one, died on United Airlines flight 93, which crashed about 80 miles outside of Pittsburgh. Several 3Com executives tell me that Mark likely was one of the passengers who stood up to the hijackers and stopped the plane from hitting its intended target.

I will celebrate Marks courage, mourn his death, and cherish those who survived the day of terror. Survivors like George Miller, my neighbor and close friend, are constantly on my mind. George is an easygoing electrician, who works overtime so that his wife can remain home with their two young children. Georges most recent union assignment took him to the World Trade Center on Sept. 10 and 11. Miraculously, he fled the assignment before both towers fell from the sky. Sadly, many of his union brothers werent as fortunate.

George isnt an integrator, a reseller or a solutions provider. He knows just enough about PCs to spend—and make—a fortune on eBay. Chances are you have a neighbor just like George. To see if you do, look outside your front door. George is the guy with the big American flag hanging in his front yard.