Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Ten Years Later

In September 2001 I got an email from my high school friend, Flo, asking how I was doing following the events of 9/11. From that note I wrote a cathartic message which I shared with countless people since (I will post in a separate blog post shortly). In addition to sending that note I also renewed a friendship which dated back to junior high school as a result. For those that do not know, I survived the attack on the WTC. My office was in Tower 2 and I was in the office on Sep 11, 2001.

A couple of days ago I sent an email to my friends Mark, Barbara and Rona, kid-hood friends from Oceanside. The email simply said "I don't know how I should feel about Sunday's rememberance". Barbara said that writing helped me 10 years ago and maybe it can help again. So, here goes...

Two weeks before my 40th birthday the world as we knew it changed, forever. Sep 11, 2001 is a day that will live on, like Pearl Harbor Day, as a day of infamy. Now, two weeks before my 50th birthday it seems everywhere I turn the media is looking back on 9/11. Is it a day of rememberance, a day of mourning or a day to celebrate the polarization of the US population? To me it seems like Politics as usual in that every political leader is using the rememberance as his / her personal podium to campaign for something. First reponders (fire & police) and survivors are not being
included in the ceremonies at Ground Zero but every political leader will be that appropriate, fair and equitable? I say no way!

As I reflect on the past 10 years I am concerned about the overall state of the world and most specifically here in the US:

  • the terrorist leaders / designers of the 2001 attacks on the US no longer walk in this world, however, their legacy lives on and their purpose continues;

  • the US is still at war (or are these police actions) on at least 2 fronts;

  • the US economy is probably more fragile than its ever been;

  • the US patriotism exhibited for a short period post 9/11 has faded;

On a positive note, I've had the opportunity to drive by Ground Zero recently and I am thrilled by the progress of the rebuilding. I've stated emphatically that if I had the chance to return to the WTC to work I would...I still mean it!

Continuing on the positive, having had the sense to walk away on 9/11 I've:

  • seen 10 more birthdays for each of my children, Danielle who will soon be 17 and Alex who just turned 15;

  • help shape the lives of these 2 young adults;

  • had 10 more years of being happily married to my life love, Sharon;

  • 10 years of life experiences with my family and friends;

  • lived, loved, laughed and cried with loved ones;

  • continued to hone my Quality skills and be a part of the continual improvement for several organizations;

  • experienced 6 years as a Regional Director for ASQ which included 6 years on the Society's Board of Directors;

  • had the opportunity to become a pretty good poker player and the chance to play in the World Series of Poker Main Event;

  • ...and the list can go on...

Am I a different person because of my experiences associated with 9/11. I know that I did suffer some minor effects of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome for several weeks immediately following the attack, however, I worked my way through the issues with the support of family and friends. Maybe my temper is shorter than it used to be but I think that is a result of getting older and life with my teenaged kids. I am still Quality-minded. I am still young at heart. I still love to tell a good story or joke whenever I can. Okay, some are not so good but I still tell them with
pleasure. That has not changed.

On a final note, a couple of those friends mentioned earlier have written to me about how they are feeling today and I want to share their thoughts too...

Mark wrote:

Obviously, we’ve been all thinking a lot about those tragic events 10 years ago today. A friend wrote to me on Friday about her remembering me telling her about the first plane hitting the first tower. I wrote back about my remembrances, of which there were several. Of course, perhaps the sharpest is my realization that you were down there and sheer panic until I found out you were OK. It was a difficult day in history but I’m so glad there was no personal tragedy for me associated with it. You asked what you should be feeling come today. As Barbara said, you should feel as you feel, but I know that I’m glad I can look back and know that there were so many things that you had a chance to see, do and experience and I’m glad that you were able to do just that and share them with me.

And Barbara wrote (slightly edited):

Good morning guys. It seems weird but had it not been for 9/11, I would not be writing that this morning or any of the many mornings I've written to all of you in the past years.

I just saw the first tower come tumbling down yet again on the TV and I got chills all over again.

So glad you made it though that day, David. It was a miracle and a gift to your family and

On this very sad day, that makes me happy.

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