It’s said that a part of who we are is defined by those landmark events that are seared into our memories. Depending on how old we are, those key points in history vary. Perhaps for you it’s when World War II ended, or when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, or when the Berlin Wall fell. For those in their teenage years and older, Sept. 11, 2001, will always be one of those turning points which altered our lives.
Like you, I’ll never forget where I was when I learned of the tragedy. I was in my car, just minutes from work. Hearing the news on the radio, I was stunned — but the enormity of the tragedy became clearer in the hours to come as my co-workers and I periodically watched television broadcasts throughout that day.
We at Electric Consumer were on deadline for the publication that day, so we forged ahead with our work — but, obviously, our focus was elsewhere. I’m sure you felt the same way then — life went on, yet your perspective changed.
Throughout the tragedy, our concern for others kicked into overdrive. I wrote a column soon after 9/11 about how everyone in our country came together then: bonding through the pain, healing through helping each other out. Our patriotism seemed re-ignited as we waved the American flag proudly. By doing so, we proclaimed the country’s strength is truly its people.
I’m reminded about the innate good in others whenever bad things happen or needs arise. For instance, consider how communities raise money when local residents are stricken by serious illnesses and face
insurmountable medical costs.
During natural disasters and tragedies, like last month’s State Fair stage collapse, people invariably come together to help each other out. We all have the potential to become heroes when lives are in danger.
I think about how the world has changed so dramatically in the last 10 years. We’ve grown accustomed to heightened security in airports and public places. After 9/11 we don’t feel totally safe anymore — terrorist threats put us on edge because we know those threats could materialize. Children born in the last decade, sadly, have never known a world without that fear.
However, at the same time, those same kids can feel secure in knowing most people do care and want to help each other, especially in times of great need. And this Sept. 11, we can honor those people who care as we also commemorate a day that changed our lives.