Fifteen years ago today I woke up to the sound of the today show, sitting in bed drinking coffee with my then Fiancé Stephani. I remember watching them break away from their current story to lower Manhattan where a fire was reported at the World Trade Center, and minutes later we saw a second plane fly into the building. We sat there in utter disbelief at what we were seeing.
All I wanted at that moment was to hug Stephani and keep the frightening World from coming into our home. Every day from that moment on would be a blessing for us. We have our lives, nobody can hurt us, can they? Could they hurt us? Why do they want to hurt us? We did not understand.
I had lost my job a few months before this, laid off as the tech sector underwent a tumultuous time. Things were bad. I couldn’t find work, I was depressed, and now this. Whatever this is, I wasn’t sure. But I remember staying glued to the television for most of the day hypnotized by the footage of the twin towers burning. Our country was under attack, things would never be the same.
I remember the images of people hanging out of the windows in the building, some were starting to jump out and fall to the ground. I remember thinking what an awful death. The desperation. Those firemen and first responders running into the building not knowing it was about to come down on top of them. All of those families losing their loved ones all at the same time. The magnitude of the attack was incomprehensible.
In the afternoon I had an appointment to meet in Anaheim with a woman I did business with in my prior job. It was an interview to see if we could work together on a contractor basis from what I recall. I remember getting dressed for the interview and not wanting to go, but forced myself to drive to Anaheim. When I arrived for the interview, both of us were very preoccupied with the events taking place on on the east coast and decided to reschedule the meeting. I had this overwhelming desire to be at home in my condo watching what was happening.
I’ve never really understood why some people hate America so much. This country has given me a rich life of experiences and opportunities. Why would someone want to destroy that? I still can’t wrap my head around it. I know it had a lot to do with military bases in Saudi Arabia and politics. I just have never been able to understand why they hate us enough to take their own lives and the lives of innocent passengers.
About a month after September 11th Stephani and I got married. It was a wonderful day. Our friend Andy played the bagpipes for us. Andy passed away a few years ago. My Mother couldn’t make it to the wedding, we were so sad she missed it, and now she has gone too. We are all going to be gone some day. We must make the most of our lives, fill them with rich joyous experiences, because we only have so much time here. We should never live in fear because doing so would mean that those who wish to terrorize us have won. I am so lucky to live in a country where I can work and enjoy life.
Fifteen years later I have a better understanding of why the attacks happened. But the World is a sadder place. We are safer sure, but the fighting rages on around the World. On September 11, 2001 we were one country, one people, but I can’t say that today with the bitter political divisions as we head into election season, one candidate running on fear tactics and the other representing the status quo. I can only hope for better days and peace as we remember those lost. I am sure they would want us to hope for peace.