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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

Sept 11, 2011
This is not safe for work or children.

The videos and images ahead are both heartbreaking and disturbing. It is important that we do not turn away. As a nation, we no longer really define ourselves in terms of "generations." It is by decades that we mark our journey. On this 10th anniversary of the worst day in modern American history, we have a duty remind ourselves of just how much this harmed our national psyche because we have not really even begun to heal.

The day began for most Americans with almost totally cloudless skies and temperate weather. Indeed, it was a gorgeous day from coast to coast. And then it started.

Shortly after the impact of the first plane, the manager of the studio where I was working and practically living ran into my suite and he told me something terrible was going on in NY. He's one of the very few people that had it pegged as an act terrorism from the get go. My response to this was basically to tell him that he was nuts but that, yes, I'd come right in to the lounge to watch the coverage.

I doubt if he has ever so regretted being right about something.

It didn't seem real. So beyond any conception of terrorism that we had previously held, it was an act of evil on the scale of James Bond Super villainy. The nation froze. And we couldn't stop watching.

The situation steadily deteriorated. Reports began to filter through that hundreds of desperate souls, trapped in the floors directly impacted, had now way out. Rather than perish by smoke or fire, they jumped.

Roughly 200 people chose these deaths. I tend to agree that this should be viewed as existential defiance rather than fear.

We all hoped and prayed that it couldn't get worse. But it did.

2,977 people perished, not counting the hijackers. The political, economic and military fallout is a subject for later.

I have never been the same. That's one of those phrases people throw around a lot, but I mean it. I don't think I have ever been as hopeful or as even headed about my own path in life as I was before that day. Even now, I can't watch much of the footage above without taking breaks. But we have to confront it. We have to discuss it. We have to share our own stories. I think most Americans still are traumatized on a fundamental level.

As William Shakespeare once wrote, "Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak Whispers the o'er fraught heart and bids it break."

Today, of all days, if someone reaches out to you, be there for them.

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