The tenth anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11 is quickly approaching. I am sure this will garner much media attention and prompt lots of events in memory and reminiscence about this horrible day in our history.
I know I am already involved in several activities regarding looking back on lessons learned from this day including an article to be published by Continuity Magazine and participating on a panel discussion, “September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks: Duties of Corporate Directors and Officers in the Preparation and Execution of Disaster Avoidance Programs”, sponsored by the Tort Trail and Insurance Section of the American Bar Association.
But my personal memories will go beyond lessons learned and professional concerns. I lived just outside of New York City on the day of that tragic event and had several friends and acquaintances perish on that horrible day. My family is one of those lucky stories where my wife did not attend work that morning due to a scheduled doctor’s visit – otherwise, she could possibly have been one of its victims as she commuted through the World Trade Center on her way to her office just across the street severely and irreparably damaged in the event.
My high-school aged son and I volunteered to assist in the recovery efforts the following Saturday morning and helped hand out bottles of water on the edge of the restricted zone to the rescue workers returning from the disaster site. We stood just inside the police barriers as crowds of pedestrians gathered outside cheering every rescue worker as they took a bottle from us, covered in the soot, ash and dirt from the fallen buildings. It is a day that I will never forget.
This event, Hands in Hand, somehow reminds me of the emotions I felt that day, as we first got to our station about 6:00 am when there was no crowd, and watched it slowly grow to hundreds and hundreds of people throughout the day – all, seemingly, standing hands in hand thanking the rescue workers for their efforts and dedication.
Now that I live in Washington State, physically far removed from the site, I am not sure what I will do to commemorate the date, but I am sure, somewhere along the way, a tear or two will flow. I may not be able to stand hand in hand with those who participate in this event, but I will be there in spirit, praying we never live through such an event again.