Sept 11: What it taught me

For many of us, September 11, 2001 was a turning point in history and our lives. And it seems with each passing year, we can still recall where we were on that fateful day, what we did and how we coped.

Moreover, we can reflect on how our lives may have been, and how different they might be now.

I was never one to live in fear. However, 9-11-01 changed the person I thought I was—temporarily anyway.

I remember looking out of the tenth floor window of my office building in downtown Newark, New Jersey, and like many others, noting the beauty of the blue sky. Seconds after placing my pocketbook in my desk drawer, I glanced up again, finding it weird that the sky near the World Trade Center had suddenly darkened.

The first plane struck. It had to be a mistake, I thought.

I literally saw the second plane hit, and became angry. I wondered who hell was flying the blasted thing, and why couldn’t they see those huge towers in front of them?

Then it sank in as I watched the news unfolding on the television monitor to my left and the flames growing outside the window to my right—just across the Hudson River.

It was deliberate.

From that day forward, I kept the blinds at the office open at all times, glancing at every plane that flew to and from Newark Airport. I became obsessed with anything flying near my office building and watched every aircraft, be it a helicopter or plane—until it flew from sight.

I lived in fear for a long time. I didn’t like it.

It’s the eleventh anniversary of 9-11, and while I still think of the events of that day, I haven’t kept my eyes glued to the skies as much. Instead, I’ve learned to be better prepared, always have a plan and take nothing for granted. I’m on guard, but not afraid.

I’ve since lowered the blinds in my office, which is a big deal for me. However, on occasion, I will glance out the window at a passing aircraft, pause for a moment in remembrance, and then get back to living.

Take a moment to remember those who are no longer here, kiss and hug those who are, and live each day with strength, passion and love.

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