Last evening, I completed a blog post that I planned to publish this morning. However, in light of the late night breaking news that Osama Bin Laden was killed, it just didn’t seem right to go with something so frivolous.
Thinking about the sentiments of “Life After Normal”, I think that all of us in the U.S. and around the world had our lives changed forever when we saw what happened in New York, Arlington VA and Shanksville, PA. The world as we knew it changed forever. The depths of the tragedy is something that still shakes me nearly 10 years later — I can only imagine what the people who lost loved ones are feeling, not only today but every day of the past 10 years when struggling to deal with such a violent, senseless loss.
On Sept. 11, 2001, I was living in Portland, Ore. A client meeting was planned for that day, with several clients traveling to Portland from Seattle for a day of planning. I had a number of items that I wanted to complete before the clients arrived, so I set my TV alarm to go off extra early.
My TV turned on before 6 a.m. Pacific Time. I recall being very confused at what I was hearing as I tried to pull myself out of my deep slumber. Even in my semi-conscious state I was aware that something was dreadfully wrong. I reached for my glasses and all of a sudden everything came into focus. Although 3,000 miles away from New York, it hit me that I knew people who worked in the Trade Center. As the events unfolded, I realized that I also knew people who worked in the Pentagon.
While my friends and colleagues in Portland were deeply affected by the tragedy and fully understood its enormity, there were very few people there that were frantically going through their address books, sending emails, trying to track down friends living and working in New York and D.C. I ended up as one of the lucky ones with family and friends safe and sound.
It was 9/11 that reminded me, with pride, that I am an East Coast girl. And East Coast people are fighters and don’t take shit from anyone. While there were stories about how people would be moving away from New York and D.C. due to the risk, I had completely the opposite reaction. I began making plans that week to return to D.C., and am proud to have been back for nearly nine years. I drive past the Pentagon regularly, always with pride at the American resolve and how we were able to come together in our darkest moment.
I am not a religious person in any way, shape or form. But today, only one word comes to mind.