Today is the 9th anniversary of the tragic 9-11 attack and I found myself watching the minute by minute replay on NBC this morning. I'm surprised at how emotional I got and in many ways I'm glad I was able to re-experience it as it happened.
I remember the day it happened for real. Christine and I were living at our beautiful lake house on Lake Tellico in Vonore, Tennessee. I was fortunate at the time to have become quite wealthy and this was no ordinary lake house.
It was around 9am when I was expecting a call from a client to go over their promotion. Normally he was always prompt with his conference calls but this time was different. I gave him an extra 5 minutes before I decided to call him.
I asked what the problem was when he asked if I was watching the news. I told him I wasn't and he said we'll have to schedule the call another time and that I should just turn on any newscast. He said goodbye and hung up.
I couldn't imagine what I was about to see and it killed me to wait for the TV to warm up through its start-up cycle. The station was on CNN and when the picture came into view I saw an image I'll never forget. One of the twin towers was on fire. I sat in my chair, leaning forward in disbelief as the newscasters went through their scenarios and continued to replay earlier tapings.
I called Christine into the room and knew our day was not going to be very productive. It was only a few minutes later that we noticed this jumbo jet flying in low at an angle that was not recoverable. Then came the fireball and at that very moment I realized we were under a terrorist attack.
It's amazing how the human body works. We were not anywhere near danger. We were only watching a flat screen television. Yet we both went into shock. I mean medically speaking we were in shock.
The reaction of the TV anchors made it even more real. I became enraged and began pacing around in circles trying to think of how I could get the bastards. I felt so helpless every time I walked by the TV again and again. It was terrible and the thought of what these people were going through cut the deepest holes in my heart.
The more enraged I became the closer I came to losing it. Then Christine began crying. That did it for me too. I felt like a helpless little boy as I broke down and wept. We embraced for what seemed like an hour and wouldn't let go.
The rest of the day was spent trying to grasp what happened. Then a report of another jet flying into the Pentagon. Then another that a jet had crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. When will it end? How many more were out there?
We all remember where we were that day. It's one of those events that becomes engrained into the neurons of the brain. The next day it was back to business but everything seemed so meaningless. My sons, Justin and Tyler, came by and we tried to figure out how we could get back into the military to kick some ass but it wasn't to be.
I didn't think I could ever get it out of my mind. But time is an amazing healer. The next 9 years would be some of the most challenging ever for us. The country is in the middle of the Great Recession and nobody wants to get along anymore.
It's like everyone is taking sides and we all forget how unified we all were on 9-11. Is that what it takes to bring us together. Not even the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression can bring us together. It's just so disappointing.
I can only wish that everyone took time to relive 9-11 today. Maybe we can come to the realization that we are all Americans first and everything else is debatable.
I have always been a peacemaker but this division is beginning to feel insurmountable. In the next few months I hope to do my part to unify our nation by launching the Great Heritage Campaign. The goal will be to get people from all corners of our nation to share their inspirational stories.
It's the one thing I still hold out hope to unite us all. If we can just get to know a little more about each other through story, we can build a higher level of respect and understanding for each other and maybe explain why we act the way we do or vote the way we do.
If you took the time to read this I hope you've taken time to reflect today. A good way to continue this feeling would be to write down your 9-11 reflections and how it changed you. The exercise is worth it. Let me know when you've done it and I'll go right to your Treasury StoryBoard to give you my sentiments.
It's time we begin having an interest in others instead of driving each other away just because we are different. This is the American way. It's even more so the human way.