Thoughts on the Twelfth Anniversary of the Attack on The United States of America

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I don’t often share my feelings or my experience from September 11, 2001.  Everyone has his/her own story about that day.  It had a profound impact on all of us. 

My memories are personal.  My feelings about the events of that day, intimate. 

For some reason, it felt appropriate to share a small amount of both last night (September 10, 2013) before I went to bed. 

In sharing those feelings and memories, I somehow made myself feel a little better about a day I typically dread.

Maybe this will help you too.

Originally posted on my personal Facebook page 

Tomorrow you are going to see many people change their Facebook profile photos and write about “never forgetting” September 11, 2001.

Sometimes I wonder what people want to “never forget” about that day.

I know that is a good, entirely appropriate sentiment when directed toward those who lost their lives. We must hold them in our hearts forever.

Tonight (11:30 PM, September 10, 2013) when I close my eyes I can see the Towers in flames down Fifth Avenue from my office. I still smell the acrid odor of the smoke. I feel the fear as bus after bus, full of people covered in debris, raced passed my coworkers and me as we moved as fast as we could toward Central Park (the only place in NYC without a tall building that could be a target).

I still see the uncertainty on the faces of the people across from me on the subway during the days that followed. The look that says, “what’s next?” and “is today the day?”

I remember each item I packed in the apartments of my clients who did not survive. (I ran a corporate housing company. We lost over 300 clients and due to insurance rules only a few of us could access the apartments of the deceased.)

I also remember the horrible economic fallout from that event. The loss of business that was dwarfed by the loss of life but had a profound and widespread impact.

When I close my eyes and think about September 11, 2001 I remember all of that and I never miss an opportunity to tell my family how much I love them. I probably kiss my kids too much (I know my son wipes them off most of the time.).

I’ll do those things tomorrow. I’ll close my eyes and take all of that in for a few minutes. I’ll kiss my kids and tell them I love them before they head off to school and I head off to work.

That’s the reason I never forget. I never forget because that day, when it began, felt like every other day. That day many people - too many people - didn’t say the things you would say if you knew what that particular day would bring.

So when I say “never forget” I say it because any morning is an opportunity to remember how beautiful life is and how much I treasure the relationships I have.

The horror of those memories which never fade has helped lead to a greater appreciation of every minute I have. And that is a good thing to never forget.