Remembering How 9/11/01 Changed Our Lives

>> Friday, September 11, 2009

Today is a national day of remembrance. Honestly when you live in NY, almost every day is a day of remembrance. Still.

I do not have any friends or family lost on 9/11. But I do have a lot of friends who have friends and family lost on 9/11, and friends of friends, etc. Our lives have become more like 2 or 3 degrees of separation instead of 6. Thanks to Facebook and LinkedIn. Even without Kevin Bacon.

I vividly remember my first reaction standing straight up watching CNN in the lobby of the Hyatt Hotel in Princeton, NJ. Before any of us could have processed the loss of life and the suffering that would follow, I said to myself, "our lives have just changed."

As I rushed home 45 minutes later to pick my two kids up early from grade school, I said to myself "our lives have just changed."

For those directly affected by the attacks, this was certainly instantly true. And I continue to feel for all of you, and I honestly don't know how you get through a day like today.

For the rest of the country, my first thought also certainly became true. Our lives had just changed. And it wasn't good.

We became instantly vulnerable. Like never before in our history. Over the years following, we continually lost faith in our government, our financial institutions, even our religious institutions for some of us. The economy crashed and we all started to feel like perhaps the lives we had built were just not sustainable. We are all much more vulnerable and fragile than any of us ever imagined. Individually and collectively.

9/11/01 was a turning point. But what has also risen from that moment is good old fashioned optimism. "We can get through this".

This growing feeling of realistic, some call gritty, optimism is being tracked by all the consumer trending analysts, so it's really there. I know that I feel it too. We can get through this.

As we follow the families of those directly affected by the attacks, we see them slowly move on with their lives. Forever changed, but moving on. They are getting through it.

Our optimism is different this time around. We can get through this. We can pull ourselves out of this. But WE have to do it, we can't rely on anyone else. We will do it.

So as I remember 9/11/01, I remember how it changed all of our lives. And at this very moment, I also remember the pain and suffering that so many of have endured as a result. Many of us are turning this day of remembrance into a day of service ( by helping others in our community.

What a great symbol of getting through it, and getting through it together.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.


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