Remembering September 11

We will never forget.

We will always remember.

As I sit at my computer tonight writing this week’s post, I have the television on in the background. The evening news is airing a story on September 11, 2001.

Earlier today, I took a few minutes during my lunch hour to browse Facebook, as I do every day, and I read post after post from my friends and family reflecting on the terrorist attacks. As I sat in solemn silence eating my lunch, I vowed to myself again, “I will never forget.”

Much like our parents, who remember where they were and what they were doing the moment they learned of the death of President Kennedy; and our grandparents, who remember the attack on Pearl Harbor; September 11, 2001, will forever be etched in our collective memories.

I remember that morning as clearly as if it happened yesterday. I had started my morning routine as normal and had left our apartment for my morning commute to work. As I pulled out of the driveway, I turned on the radio and the station I had been listening to the night before was airing The Howard Stern Show.

I’m not really a fan of Howard Stern or his program, but I was transfixed and couldn’t change the channel as I heard confusion, chaos, and screaming from one of his co-hosts as he ran down a street in New York City and described what he saw.

I was only getting bits and pieces of real information, and as I called my wife and told her to turn on CNN, I heard him say that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I immediately turned my truck around and came home to be with my wife.

If I am being completely honest, I have to say we were both more than a little frightened in those early moments after the first plane crashed into one of the towers, because we did not yet know the severity of the events still to come.

I unlocked the apartment door and walked into the living room the moment the second plane flew into the second tower. We watched in horror as we realized that what we first thought was a tragic accident, was actually a planned evil attack on our country.

We spent the rest of the day on the sofa, glued to CNN, grasping for any new bit of information that might be released. I know we stayed up late into the night, shocked by everything we had seen that day, and we said, “We will never forget.”

In the months that followed, our country faced a lot of uncertainty. Our company suffered the early effects of the struggling economy, and I was laid off the week after Thanksgiving.

Against what some might consider “better judgment,” I started my own business and, for the next six and a half years, enjoyed some of the best years of my life enhancing my skills and the art of landscape design.

It’s difficult to describe all the things I learned about business and myself during that time, but I learned many lessons that “I will never forget.”

Eleven years later, I look back and see how far I’ve come in my life and career since that tragic day. I’ve had so many blessings for which I am truly grateful. But when I stop and reflect, the memories of that day come rushing back, and I am reminded, “I will never forget.”

Do you remember where you were when you heard the tragic news the morning of September 11th? If you would like to share, I would love to hear your story. Feel free to leave a comment below, send me a tweet, or even an email. I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great weekend!

Boyd Coleman is a landscape architect in Phoenix, Arizona. He can be reached on twitter at @CDGLA or email: bcoleman001@gmail.com

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2 comments on “Remembering September 11

  1. Boyd – my how your post hits close to home in many ways! My daughter was a junior at NYU at the time. The University dismissed all students to their apartments after the first plane hit. From there my daughter watched the towers collapse out her apartment window. My wife called, as did most of my family wanting to know if I had heard from Tiff. I had not, but my assurance to them was she had no reason to be at the Ground Zero on that day – a school day – and that she of all people knows how to live through most anything.

    It was a friend of hers who collected phone numbers from the group, walked out of Manhattan, across the Brooklyn Bridge so to get cell phone service, and from there called me, along with everyone else’s parents/family, to say they were physically OK. That friend (which I have yet to meet) is who somewhat calmed my panic that had set in from the start of the morning’s attacks.

    It was the hectic 4 hours of not knowing the safety and welfare of daughter that I will never forget as a parent. And because of that selfish helpless feeling for my daughter, as a parent and citizen I too will never forget the senseless loss of life, sacrifices by so many folks, infringement on liberties and lives, and the unified response of the world population against such aggression.

    It was the events of the day, and the days and years that followed, that have had a lasting impact on my life’s perspective. To some degree, we all have probably reeled from that day. Personally, I have made an economic job change, and another because of a “Life’s too short to put up with that….” attitude. The moves made have been career-positive and the lessons learned, unregretful. I am blessed and thankful for where I am today.

    Last month I visited the 9/11-WTC Memorial with my daughter. Truly it was an emotional experience shared with her and several hundred others attending the Memorial for mostly the same reasons as us – to acknowledge that day with sorrow and gladness, respect and honor, remembrance and conviction. It was a morning I spent with Tiff at the place that made our 1500-mile separation on 9/11 seem like 15,000 miles between us. We now were able to comfort each other because of a time and event that taught us more good in ourselves and others, than the bad that unfortunately defined the day. 9/11 is forever a part of our national and world history that no one in heaven or reverently on earth should ever forget.

  2. Boyd Coleman on said:

    Tim,

    What a truly amazing story. Thank you for sharing. I didn’t know anyone in New York at the time, so I did not personally experience the fear of possibly losing a loved one. I think it was amazing that you were able to make those career changes and visit the memorial. What a great experience that must have been.

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