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A reflection …. and lessons learned ….

It would be an understatement to say that one of the events that changed all of our lives in a most major way was 9-11. As you all know, I was in NYC when 9-11 happened. The first plane struck at 8:46 a.m. and during that time, my friend and I were in Rockefeller Ctr laughing and joking and taking a few more pictures for what we thought was going to be our last day there. We’d no idea what had happened or what was yet to come. A little before 9, we were standing by the Today show studios, trying to get on TV. By 9:25 or so, we were eating breakfast at Roxy’s Delicatessen in Times Square. We’d made lunch plans with a friend for around noontime. Well, while we were sitting there eating breakfast, my cell phone rang once and went immediately into voice mail, which was odd. The little voice mail notification kept going off and it was bugging me. I thought it may be my friend having to cancel lunch plans with us. I went outside of Roxy’s to try to the voice mail. I couldn’t get any of the buttons to work, and was irritated a bit because as I was standing outside, all of these emergency vehicles were roaring by with their sirens going off. I thought to myself “Can I not go anywhere in this damn town without it being so loud?”

I didn’t know at the time that those emergency vehicles were headed to the WTC. I couldn’t get the ‘peace’ I desired because those vehicles were headed off to try to save people. I couldn’t hit the buttons on my phone to check my voice mail because the WTC had been hit and as a result just about all forms of phone communication had gone down. Shortly after, the WTC went down, too. I was riddled with guilt for months – I still feel it sometimes – for the petty things I let myself get irritated over. It was not a big deal I couldn’t check my voice mail. It wasn’t a huge deal that breakfast wasn’t so great. What was a big deal was what was going in Lower Manhattan. If only I’d known, I’d never have acted so petty over the little things that morning.

I also felt guilt because at the time me and my friend were sharing a few laughs at Rockefeller Center, or trying to get on the Today show, or walking by FoxNews studio, or eating breakfast, unbeknownst to us thousands of people had been murdered and thousands more injured in a senseless brutal attack on our soil. All I could think about at that time was how those people kissed their kids or spouses goodbye that a.m. not knowing they weren’t going to make it home. Those people did the same kinds of things we all do in the a.m. We chat for a few minutes by the watercooler with our coworkers, we check our email, we grab a cup of coffee, etc etc. While they were doing the most innocent of everyday things, their lives were ripped from them in a sick inhumane way. Thousands of kids lost their moms or dads, spouses lost their s/o, brothers lost sisters and vice versa, etc etc.

In the hectic world of everyday life, sometimes we don’t pause to appreciate the good in our lives: we don’t stop to give a loved one a hug, or a friend a comforting pat on the back, or our pets a little rub between the ears. And we spend too little time giving ourselves a break from the craziness of the world. Please take the time to tell your family and friends how much you appreciate them and show them often – because you never know when it might be your last time seeing them. I am by no means trying to sound fatalistic – in fact, I’m taking kind of a “Carpe Diem!” outlook here. Seize the day. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Take a drive with the top off the car. Let your hair down. Stop and smell the roses. And most importantly, tell the people who mean the most to you how much you care. Life is way too short to not live it and appreciate everything in it.

Please say a prayer for the families of all who were lost/injured on that day, and to the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror, along with those currently serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

God bless our great country.

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