Lessons learned in the ten years since 9/11

Today I planned to blog about my trip to the Australian outback. But life intervened. Or I should say TV did. Despite my proclamations to not revisit 9/11, to put it in the past and visualize a more positive future, I was drawn in to the History channel's numerous documentaries on this tragic event. With a mile long to-do list for the weekend and my dog staring at me mournfully, I told my husband I felt guilty watching TV. He said, "You're feeling the weight of this day, just allow it." So I did. And here's what I gained: Where were you? I was stuck at the Dallas airport, in a hotel, where I'd been invited to speak at a leadership conference along with a client. Our talk was scheduled for 8am on September 11th. Because of the national security risk, my client was whisked out of Dallas, but I was stuck there for days. Stranded along with dozens of conference participants, we spent our time glued to CNN in the hotel bar or staring at the grounded planes on the tarmac outside the hotel. Although I moved to San Francisco in 1991, I'd lived in Manhattan, worked on Wall Street, and passed by and through the Twin Towers for years. They had become a part of my personal landscape. As I watched them fall, something inside me collapsed too.

What got you through? What got me through ten years ago was the company of other people. Even though we just stared at the TV most of the time, knowing I was not alone helped. Back then all I could see was the hurt and the tragedy unfolding before me. On TV today I heard stories of those who survived, of loved ones found and reunited, of hope. I also saw everyday heroes, those who stepped up to make decisions that put others lives ahead of their own, like the passengers and crew who grounded flight 93. I saw people who didn't have the expertise, rank, authority, or directive to take action and went ahead and did it anyway, like the man who ran into the Pentagon to save others when he was told not to. Countless lives were saved because ordinary people like you and I acted courageously from their hearts and did what was right.

What's happened since then? I met my husband in July of 2002 and a few weeks later, my niece was born. I love both of these people so deeply and cannot imagine my life without them. Ten years ago my niece didn't exist and my husband was a stranger. A lot can change in ten years! Revisiting this day I would like to think that ten years from now when I look back I will have made choices and decisions that contributed to the world being a better place, that I acted courageously from my heart, and that I put others needs before my own when that was the right thing to do.

What about you? Where were you? What got you through? What's happened since and what would you like to be reflecting back on in ten year's time? I'd love to hear your comments.