A Little Something Extra

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Where were you? Most of you probably remember that day well. I won’t go into my story of that particular day. It was the rest of the week and the following week that had the biggest impact on me.

Some co-workers and I loaded a van with supplies and drove up to NYC a couple of days after 9/11. As we left Florida, we drove through a tropical storm. We stayed overnight at a co-worker’s parents’ house in Richmond, VA, the first night. Then we drove past the Pentagon on our way to NYC. D.C. was eerie. But not as eerie as NYC. Driving through New Jersey and looking East to see a big gap in the skyline just made my stomach sick. Other prominent memories: driving into Manhattan without traffic, seeing people walk around the streets with photographs of their loved ones, making more eye contact with New Yorkers than all previous trips combined (compared to the task-oriented, stare at your feet sort of walking), daily prayer with about 100 Campus Crusade staff members before heading out for the day, staying at a hotel where lots of firemen from around the country were staying, getting off the subway at Wall St. the first day the subway was open and smelling the “air,” flying home from JFK with all the security increases and still getting my keychain through with a pocket knife on it. Mostly, though, I remember the heaviness of just being there. The world would never be the same. Or would it?

One of the things I did while in NYC was phone interviews for a website we put up for spiritual support for people affected by the tragedy (who wasn’t?). I spoke with a partner at a major financial services company who just wasn’t sure if he wanted to EVER go back to work because he was questioning the validity of what he had been striving for. He had lost friends who were at work on 9/11. A good friend of his would have been in the wrong place and the wrong time if it weren’t for being late for work due to attending the football game the night before. I spoke with someone who would have been in the wrong place at the wrong time if it weren’t for him being at a Bible study that morning that “just happened” to run long because it was the first meeting of the new season. I spoke with someone whose friend left her office to get a cup of coffee and chose to actually leave the building instead of get a cup of coffee in one of the many coffee shops inside the Trade Center.

I’ve frequently wondered what has happened to all these people whose lives were spared or significantly impacted that day. I was very fortunate to not lose any friends that day, but they were not so fortunate. Did the shock and horror of it all diminish in importance? Did they eventually go back to the 80-hour weeks they were working before? Does it still impact me? It definitely does on 9/11. I do think that 9/11 impacted the way I viewed the importance of my corporate career compared to the importance of my family. Has it affected you?


Jeanette said...

It did indeed change my life. I loved your post, it was interesting to read about your experience and your rememberances of the people that you meant. Thanks for sharing.

Mindy said...

I was at home getting ready for work. DH, I think, had started to leave for work but heard something on the radio that made him come back in the house and turn on the TV. We stood watching, horrified.

When I did go to work, I was the first one there for the day, and when my co-worker arrived, I mentioned it to her. She had no idea of what was going on. I felt like I was describing something too horrible to be true...

Princess Abigail said...

I work at a news desk, and had the job of announcing what had happened. I had NO idea what it really meant. I had some idea that some small plane had collided with a big tower. I told the CEO my version of the fact ... and he put me right! When I saw the images, I was gobsmacked. Like you, 9/11 is a pecular day each year. It is impossible to forget all that series of events.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great post and all you did afterward is so commendable. It would definitely be interesting to re-connect with those people.

I remember the day pretty well as it was also my birthday. I woke up in my dorm room, excited for the day, and made a quick trip to Big K-Mart (the only store in Ripon) for something - i don't even remember now! My now husband called me, but I had the radio on and was listening to the live announcement and slowly pulled into Big K and just sat there listening as the 1st plane hit. It was devastating really. I remember spending the entire day in my husband's dorm room with a group of friends watching CNN or some other news feed broadcast everything. Needless to say, my 20th birthday was not a very celebrated one. Even though I was so far removed from NYC that is the first time I felt completely helpless. It was also the first time I can recall a remarkable growth in my faith and trust in God.

Every year it seems like the memory if 9-11 has grown fainter. This was the first year I didn't feel bombarded with signs and messages. I only saw 1 sign "We will Never Forget" (Thank you Culvers in Darboy). I was surprised that the news shows I frequently watch had barely a 2 minute special on 9-11.

Rachel said...