September 11, 2001. It was a horrible day on many levels. While the country came to a stand still and watched the horror unfold in New York City, Washington, D.C. and in Pennsylvania, I was caught up in my own personal melt down.
Around the same time, my uncle passed away after battling a very long illness. He was a World War II veteran and I’ve always thought he just couldn’t accept knowing our county had been attacked on our own soil by a group of terrorists. Secondly, the personal relationship I had been in for far too long came to a decidedly abrupt ending, too. The world as I knew it had come to a screeching halt. It was just too much to process.
As with any tragedy, I dealt with all of it in different stages. It was as if I wasn’t sure where to focus or what to think as each event seemed to trump the other. Ultimately, I knew that by the grace of God, I was alive and breathing and would get to go home that night and talk to my family. Those lost in the attacks didn’t have that chance.
All of the friends I’ve made since moving to New York City were here when the attacks happened. Each of them tell their stories of what the city was like and how they were all impacted by that day. It was intense enough watching the towers fall from a television set in Carlisle, Arkansas. I can’t even comprehend seeing that scene unfold in person as my friend Emily did from a side walk in Brooklyn as she looked across to the World Trade Center.
I had the opportunity recently to listen to Howard Lutnik from Cantor Fitzgerald speak about losing 658 employees in the attacks. You may recall the Cantor Fitzgerald offices were on the 101-105th floors of One World Trade Center. Everyone who came in for work that day died in the attacks, including Lutnick’s brother. The story of how Lutnick pulled it together and got the business back on track is a real example of the desire to prevail and not let terror win even in the most horrific of circumstances. Everyone lost something that day. Whether it was a loved one or a sense of security, we all felt something slip away from us
Fast forward 11 years. I am married, a mother and living in New York City. When I turned on the television this morning, I had flashbacks. The memories and feelings are still vivid. It doesn’t feel as if it’s been that long ago. Where has the time gone? If you would have told me this is what my life would look like on 9/11/2001 I would have told you that you were crazy!
Days like this one remind me to make the most of each day, tell the people in my life that I love them and give them an extra hug, too. You truly never know what life is going to bring your way.