I’ve posted a similar version of this for a few years now, but it seems appropriate to do so again.
In honor of all the victims of the tragedy of September 11 and its aftermath, their families, and their friends.
I will always remember, as will many of us, where I was the morning of September 11, 2001. A lucky change in job the day before kept me away from Ground Zero at the time of the attack.
I was a vice president at Merrill Lynch, working at its headquarters in New York City. For a year, I had been commuting on the PATH train from New Jersey to the World Trade Center, arriving around 8:45 a.m. every day. I then took an escalator and sky bridge over to my office at Two World Financial Center.
On Monday, September 10, 2001, I started a new position in the company’s Princeton, New Jersey office. At 8:46 a.m. on Tuesday, when the first plane hit, I was pulling into a parking lot in suburbia, not in a crowd of panicked commuters underneath the WTC. The first sign that something was amiss was when my NPR signal went out. (WNYC had a transmitter on top of the WTC.) The “could have been” occupied my thoughts for weeks.
I don’t want to overstate my experience versus those who were killed, injured, or knew those who were. My heart goes out to them every time I think about it. The event affected me, though, in more ways than I realized at the time. It is perhaps not coincidental that shortly after September 11, Helen and I began to talk seriously about having a child, after more than eight years together. Unseized opportunities took on new immediacy. Yes, it gave us pause, wanting to bring a child into a world where “detonate” is a reflexive verb. But when we lose our faith in the future, the terrorists have already won.
May we all work in whatever way we can for a safer, more peaceful world for our children—and children of all countries, faiths, and cultures.
(The tall building with the flat black top just to the left of the WTC in the photo is Two World Financial Center, where I worked.)