Remembering September 11th

I think 9/11 is one of those things that we all will never forget where we were when it happened. I was at work that morning and I recall a coworker telling me that a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers. I thought to myself “Some drunk idiot in a Cesna did what?” A few minutes later, the coworker came back and said a second plane had crashed into the other tower and that they weren’t little prop planes, but great big 747s. I was stunned.

I gathered my team and we all huddle around our PCs looking for news on the Internet. Many of us called home to find out more information. I recall that I felt like I was really going out on a limb, but I called my team together and I led a prayer. Deloitte is a very PC place and I worried that a coworker might protest. However I felt, and I think everyone on the team did too, that we were looking at a pivotal moment in our lives.

Not long after that, the Towers collapsed. We were all so stunned. We got a call from the big wigs and everyone was told to go home for the day. The part I remember best, and am most sad about, was when I got home everyone even the kids were there. Dylan and Emily were celebrating about being out of school and Dylan was makin’ all kinds of jokes about how this should happen more often so he could get out of school. I’m rather ashamed of myself because I really snapped at him and even cursed – “Dylan! This is -bleepin- horrible. We might be at war this time tomorrow!” I feel so bad that I made him cry. But that’s a part of my 9/11 story too.

The outcome of 9/11 was profound. Of course, I don’t have to tell you everything that’s changed in our country as a result – war in far off countries, stepped up security here at home, oil prices, etc. But on a personal level it was also huge. Deloitte decided to tighten their belts and I was put on notice, along with a couple thousand others, that we’d soon be let go. I found another job that led to more huge changes in my life and the lives of my family.

I’ve heard that there has been some squabbling among the politicos about whether President Bush’s 9/11 speach was appropriate. I really can’t comment because I didn’t hear it and don’t know what he said.

I do know that any memorial speech should be only about those memorialized. It shouldn’t talk about what we, the living are doing except in the most abstract of terms. That is because the loss is to grievious to memorialize. All we can do is gather at the site, like a tomb in a cemetary, and lay the flowers down. This is what Reagan did so well after the Challenger disaster and Truman did after WWII. But it was Abraham Lincoln who offered the best possible memorial when he spoke on the grounds of that horrible battle in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania…

“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. “


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