Thursday, 15 September 2011

Communicator of the Week

This week we have had many set-piece speeches of genuine importance. Politicians use them to set the agenda, cause mischief, communicate changes in policy direction or reaffirm their faith in a present course. Over the past 7 days we have ‘key-note’ addresses featuring George Osborne and President Obama alongside interventions of note from David Cameron, Alex Salmond and Nadine Dorries. While the British Chancellor and the American President have different ideas about how to get their respective nations growth rates climbing again, both will have a significant impact on our futures. Other interventions have been news-worthy or resulted in considerable debate.

For me however, like most people across the world, this week has been about the past and specifically the terrible events 10 years ago on September 11 2001. Much has been said and written about that day with Presidents, Prime Ministers and royalty speaking to try and capture the anger, sadness, disbelief and pride people still feel when we think of those who died. Politicians particularly have lined up at memorial services, in televised addresses and in pre-written statements to try and encapsulate in a perfect sound bite what 9/11 means to those involved and those affected by that awful day. President Obama quoted the Bible, George W. Bush used the words of Abraham Lincoln,  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo read portions of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's State of the Union speech but to me it was the words of the families of those who died which really captured the importance of this 10th anniversary. It isn’t to say that the politicians weren’t speaking from the heart but sometimes speaking about the most ordinary of things cuts through in a way soaring rhetoric simply cannot.

"I haven't stopped missing my dad. He was awesome ... I wish my dad had been there to teach me how to drive, ask a girl out on a date and see me graduate from high school and a hundred other things I can't even begin to name ... I hope that I can make my father proud of the young men that my brother and I have become." Speaking at the memorial service in New York Peter Negron, whose father, Pete, died in the World Trade Centre, captured the raw reality that the thousands who died left families and loved ones who still live with that terrible day in all they do. The simplicity of these words, a longing for something that sadly will never happen, tell the story that for every one of the nearly 3,000 who died that day a family was left behind. For that reason Peter Negron is my communicator of the week.

*This post first appeared on Dale & Co.

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