I heard an interesting quote recently, that one day 9-11 will become more of a date on a calendar for people than a raw experience. It’s true. For me the thought of Pearl Harbor Day caries less impact than it does for my parents generation.
A few vivid memories stand out for me in my life. One was watching John Kennedy’s funeral procession on a crappy black & white television that only got four channels. Four, can you believe that! Similar crappy television with rabbit ears, but this one was a bit bigger.
Another life altering memory was watching Neil Armstrong take that first step on the moon. I’m really dating myself aren’t I?
The third tragic memory was standing in front of a television with my staff around me and watching both towers fall. I can remember the events vividly but thankfully this time with a color tubed television.
9-11 also carries with me some special memories from the debt world. For example, the department at American Express that we often dealt with on behalf of clients was located in a building adjacent to the twin towers. When I finally got back in touch with my contact there he said he’d love to deal with the client account but everything in his office had been sucked out when the front of his building crashed in.
For a period of time afterwards, some banks lost their ATM capabilities and that stranded people.
Then there was the person I later met who survived the tower fall only to lose everything slowly. They had a thriving catering business in the Twin Towers that was completely demolished in so many ways. They were not killed or injured but they still lost a tremendous amount.
And then not all that long later my concern turned from the tragedy in New York to the sniper that was killing people around where I lived in the DC area. It was all a lot to mentally process. Imagine living through planes crashing into buildings where thousands die and then domestic snipers kill people mowing their lawn. It was a surreal time. Later I moved to England and was there when their terrorist bomb attack happened on a city bus.
Now as I rewind through the past 11 years of my life I’m struck by how different my life is and how it feels like I’ve lived a lifetime since that tragic day. 9-11 doesn’t mean any less for me now but thankfully it hurts less.
So here I am, rocking back and forth in my chair, trying to think of some brilliant wisdom that has come from all of these experiences and to be honest all I can say is that history has been full of tragedy and the future will contain some as well. Hell, who knows, maybe in my lifetime we’ll get hit by a meteor. If we do, at least this time I’ll get to see it in HD.