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Michael Ahern was an incredible force of calmness, professionalism, confidence, and kindness during those early September days when we at the Memorial prepared for the annual 9/11 commemoration. If at any time anyone expressed a sense of anxiety, he listened, took a deep breath, and effectively said, "Don’t think twice, it's all right."
His kindness, humor, fairness, and intelligence permeated his work and family. And he had an extraordinary career, largely producing rock concerts: He was on the production crew for the Rolling Stones concert at Slade Castle in Ireland and did the voice-over introduction for the Allman Brothers at Fillmore East. His friends and colleagues dropped the names Bowie, Prince, and Dylan, along with Live Aid and Amnesty International concerts. In the days after 9/11, Ahern came to be setting up lights at ground zero, but it makes sense that he would have gotten himself downtown to hook up generators and restore power.
The best people in our lives challenge us to see ourselves in a better light. Ahern is one of those people.
"I do know that, in a heartbeat, you can change people’s mood if you change the light." – Michael Ahern