This past weekend was humbling as we remembered the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers and our country.
So much has changed in the last 20 years as a result of those terrorist attacks on U.S. soil: gas prices, TSA security checks at airports, and the always watchful eye of “Big Brother” in our daily lives and online.
On September 11, 2001, I was working for Frito-Lay as a delivery driver while beginning to build my business working with ballplayers. I would be at our loading stations by 5:00am, and I had a little transistor radio that was tuned into 95.5 KLOS listening to the old Mark and Brian show.
Around 6:00am, it was announced that a plane had crashed into the south Twin Tower but not much more was said, so I kept loading my truck with the radio on. When it was announced that the second plane crashed into the 2nd Twin Tower, it was an obvious sign we were being targeted and this was an attack on our nation.
My manager at the time was hurrying people to get on the road when I told him what was going on. He was abrupt with me and said he didn’t care, that I needed to get moving. I was floored. I had been a police officer for a period of time and knew that my fellow brotherhood were going to have a tough job ahead of them. In fact, I was definitely looking to move to another police department at that point, so my heart ached when he jumped at me that morning. I remember calling my girlfriend (now wife) and telling her what happened with him and her reminding me that sometimes people are just rude and idiotic. It affected me all day.
On top of that, each of my stops had a television on, and I couldn’t help but be glued to the TV before leaving for the next store. I had an empty feeling inside both because of the news and my manager. I somehow managed to get through the rest of the day as both towers collapsed, the Pentagon got hit, and another hijacked plane crashed in Pennsylvania—the flight we now know crashed in a rural area because brave passengers charged the cockpit, preventing the plane from hitting the Capital or, worse yet, the White House.
Watching documentaries all weekend, you really got a sense of the pride Americans felt during this weekend of remembrance. People helping people, belief in the human spirit, and an appreciation for those freedoms we have in life. Sometimes the simple reminder of the firefighters and police officers who lost their lives that day allows me to appreciate those blessings in my life, and I hope in yours as well.
As difficult as it is to imagine the pain and suffering of that eventful day, it’s also a day to remember the people who made the ultimate sacrifice as well as those innocent lives taken away by evil. For some reason, this anniversary really resonated with me. I must have watched over 10–12 hours of documentaries commemorating this most sacred anniversary of what will always be a scar on U.S. history as well as on my own heart.
I hope you can appreciate those things we do have instead of what we don’t have. My hope is that you will appreciate what life has to offer instead of what it doesn’t. And Lord knows we need these thoughts for the challenging times we live in today.
May God bless the United States of America.
Until next time…
P.S. An ending footnote to the story of my manager: He did seek me out the next day and apologized for being an ass. He had no idea the severity of what had happened, and he felt terrible for the way he acted toward me. I guess there are times when people will act with goodness in their heart, and that was one of those times. 🙂