BW Gives Back: The Borough of Ramsey 9/11 Remembrance

September 13, 2011

by Alan Asarch, Manager, Licensing and Content Development, Business Wire

Located in Bergen County New Jersey, The Ramsey Wind Symphony is one of the region’s most established wind groups.  Celebrating its 26th Season, the Symphony consists of volunteer participants from all walks of life who love to play and perform music.  Every year, the Symphony holds several concerts for the community, and is invited to participate in seasonal community events.

Since the events of September 11, 2001, the Borough of Ramsey conducts memorial services for the three local residents whose lives were lost on that tragic day.  The Ramsey Wind Symphony provides patriotic and solemn musical interludes as part of the 9/11 Memorial Services, as community leaders speak and those we lost on that tragic day are remembered.

Borough of Ramsey 9/11 Remembrance

Local police and firefighters attend the Borough of Ramsey 9/11 memorial service

On the 10th anniversary of September 11, Ramsey held its memorial ceremony in a remote, peaceful, tree-lined area of Finch Park, which will soon include a beautiful, permanent memorial in remembrance of the 3 residents.  The families who lost loved ones were invited back to participate in the groundbreaking of the memorial.  Only two of the three came.

Also in attendance were the mayor and councilman of Ramsey, and many members of the Police and Fire Departments of Ramsey. In front of one of the firefighters stood a bell, which would ring three times, once for each person the town lost on that fateful day.

Prior to the groundbreaking, the Symphony played patriotic interludes in a somber, rather than celebratory, tone.  The families were invited to light candles in remembrance of their loved ones.

For the first time, I saw with my own eyes families of the victims of that fateful day:  A mother and father who lost a son, and a wife and her children who lost a husband and father.  We all watch the 9/11 ceremonies on television and hear the roll call of names of loved ones who were lost.  Seeing it on television does not have the same impact as observing it in person.  I looked into their eyes as they sat in the front row, stood for the playing of The Star Spangled Banner, and walked to light their candles.  In their eyes, I see straight through to the holes in their hearts that will never be filled and the pain that will never completely heal.  My eyes fill with tears desperately wanting to be shed.

As the ceremony reached its conclusion, the Mayor thanked the Symphony for participating in the service.  The applause was warm, yet unnecessary.  More surprisingly, the families honored on this late Summer day stood for us as they applauded.  It should be the other way around–the Symphony stands for those families,  applauds them, and honors them for their strength and courage.

Memorials for Ramsey, NJ 9/11 victims

Memorials for the three Ramsey residents who lost their lives on 9/11

I walked to the banner that displays the design of the new memorial.  I wanted to speak to the families and look closer into their eyes, offer a simple, thoughtful handshake, and let them know that I share their sadness, even though I was fortunate enough to not lose a loved one on September 11, 2001.  I saw them stare at the model of the memorial, envisioning the names of their loved ones on it, which will be permanently displayed for everyone to see and never forget.  And they deserved to spend this time alone in thought.

Even though I did not speak with the families, I know that the Ramsey Wind Symphony’s participation in the ceremony gave them solace from unimaginable sorrow.  I am honored and grateful to be a part of an organization that gives back so much to its community.

In honor of its 50th Anniversary, Business Wire is giving back by providing each of its 500+ employees up to 12 hours of paid time off in 2011 to volunteer with the nonprofit of their choice. Read more about what BW employees are doing to give back.


Business Wire Gives Back: In Tokyo, BW Manager Keeps Snacks Stocked for Earthquake Victims

June 7, 2011

Akio Kobayashi, Business Wire’s Country Manager in Japan, spent a recent day helping those afflicted by the devastating earthquake and tsunami by keeping supply shelves stocked at a Tokyo relief center.  The effort was part of  our 50th birthday BW Gives Back campaign.

Akio Kobayashi, Business Wire Japan Country Manager

Akio Kobayashi, Business Wire Japan Country Manager, Volunteers in Tokyo

Kobayashi  worked the snack counter at a Tokyo high school that is serving as a temporary relief center.  Several families were crowded into a single classroom where government agencies made food, diapers and information available about jobs and living quarters.

“Old people, young couples with babies….They lost everything–jobs, homes.  Some lost their families,” Kobayashi shared via email. “I didn’t want to believe the situation but very unfortunately it was a fact that we are facing.”

The BW Gives Back campaign, which challenges each Business Wire employee to volunteer up to 12 hours to the worthy cause of their choosing, continues through the end of 2011.


BW Fun Fact: Business Wire Has Gone From 1 1/4 to 500+ Employees in 50 Years

March 4, 2011

BW founder & original employee Lorry Lokey

Business Wire opened its doors for business on October 2, 1961. At that time, there were 1 1/4 employees (founder Lorry Lokey was the full timer) and one office (in San Francisco) that has been described as the size of a broom closet. We didn’t open another office (Los Angeles) until 1967 & employed just 15 people at the end of the 1960s.

Today, Business Wire boasts more than 500 employees in 32 bureaus around the world, including 21 newsrooms staffed with the most accurate editors in the industry. We’ve definitely come a long way in 50 years!


BW Fun Fact: Five Years Ago Today, Business Wire Joined the Berkshire Hathaway Family

March 1, 2011

Celebrating our five-year birthday as a Berkshire Hathaway company on the occasion of our fiftieth anniversary year makes us want to run out and buy a lottery ticket with lots of “fives” as our quick picks.

From the 2009 Berkshire Hathaway company calendar

Just 60 short months ago, on March 1, 2006, Business Wire joined Warren Buffett’s family.

Employees learned of the pending deal on January 16, 2006, when founder Lorry Lokey sent a company-wide email coauthored by BW CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz with the subject line:   A Renaissance:   A re-birth for Business Wire.

The classicly coy email, kept many of us on the edge of our seats as Lorry waited until the eighth paragraph to inform us: 

“Many of you might have heard rumors these last few years that Business Wire might be for sale. It’s true that in order to ensure our future and continue what we’ve built, we have considered options such as a sale, merger, acquisition, etc.
I am pleased to announce that Business Wire has been sold to Berkshire Hathaway and its leader, Warren Buffett.”

At 8:55 AM Eastern Standard Time on March 1, 2006, the news broke on Business Wire (of course) that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway had bought Business Wire, making it a wholly owned subsidiary.


BW Fun Fact: Business Wire was First to Launch Press Release Wire Service Website in 1995

February 25, 2011

We’ve come a long way since launching the first wire service industry website in 1995.    

The wayback machine provides the screenshot below, grabbed on Christmas Eve, 1996 .  At the time, this represented the pinnacle of web design with frame-based navigation and a whopping 48-hours of search.   Absent was flashing text, known in geek circles as a “blink tag.”

Today Business Wire’s distribution system and website manages thousands of press releases daily and syndication to countless partners in real time.  We boast a five-year search window.   Our patented N/X servers make it all possible.


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