It’s been 11 years since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. It was a day of sadness, a day of panic and for many, a day of fear and great uncertainty. I recall my whereabouts and what was happening in my life the day that 2,973 innocent people lost theirs. I was on my way to work. I was listening to a cd in favor of the radio during my commute that day, so it wasn’t until I arrived at my place of employment that I even had a clue what was happening. I walked in the back door and instead of the busy sound of telephones ringing, printers printing and co-workers busily typing away, there was only a frightening silence with the muted sound of sobbing in the background. I followed the sound to find the entire crew hovered around the small television that we had. When I inquired as to what was going on, there was nothing that could have prepared me for what I was told or what else I was about to witness via the news coverage. Complete devastation was the only possible description. At first no one knew if it was an accident or a terrorist attack. Then the reports of the plane hitting the Pentagon as well as the plane headed to Pennsylvania poured in, confirming everyone’s fear that these were indeed attacks, and indeed intentional.
Our manager released everyone from work that day. She insisted that we all drop everything we were working on and immediately head home to our families. My husband at the time, was given similar instructions and we both met up at our apartment in Scottsdale, AZ in complete disbelief of what had just happened. Within hours came the news coverage of the thousands of people whose loved ones were missing in the towers along with the horrifying descriptions of phone calls from loved ones on the planes just minutes before they crashed. Every channel you turned to was filled with photographs and play-by-play accounts of the attacks. Then came the details of the brave passengers on the plane that was headed to Pennsylvania, the only plane that did not reach its intended destination, and how it was an act of complete selflessness by the passengers on board that saved the lives of thousands of innocent people.
9/11 will always be remembered for the tragedy. The loss of lives and the families left behind makes the sorrow of the event impossible to ignore, but we must remember the positive as well. The intention of these attacks was to destroy the United States; to devastate our economy and fill each and every American with fear. True, our economy suffered as did our confidence as a nation, but we did persevere. We took our time to grieve and then we did what we do best; stood up, rebuilt, regrouped and offered a tremendous metaphorical flip off to al-Qaeda in the form of a stronger, more unified society and an economy rapidly on the mend.
So as you go about your daily routine today, take a moment to remember what is important. Think about the innocent people who lost their lives on this day and remember them with fondness. Use the events of this tragedy as a constant reminder that life is short and that love, family and friends are what is most important. Don’t live your life dancing in the shadows of mistakes and regrets; be there for the people and the events that count and live each day as though it could truly be your last.