September 11, 2001 – was a world changing day. I remember going to work in my car listening to the Howard Stern show on the radio, when Howard started talking about a plane running into the World trade Center. The first thought that went through my mind was that a small plane had run into the huge buildings, but when I walked in to my office, everyone was talking , huddled around a small television, looking at the video of the first plane hitting the towers.
I remember clearly the shock, and the endless news coverage of this incredible disaster, The day seemed to be an endless series of shocks as the information about the other planes and their fates unfolded. With family in New York and the Washington D.C. area, we were frantically calling to see where everyone was, breathing easier as we located each family member, our sadness deepening as other families were shown on the news, frantically trying to locate fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters. The search for survivors was dramatic and disturbing and the firemen raising our flag in the rubble created a scene for our generation as memorable as the flag raising at Iwo Jima was for our father’s.
We were at war and we learned to live with changes in the way we travel. We got used to increased security at the airports, going through metal detectors, removing our shoes, not carrying liquids, and getting to the airport with plenty of time to spare for the security process. With the economy occupying so much of the news and our lives, we take a lot of things for granted.
After speaking at ReTechSouth yesterday, today was the day to fly home. The people who held the event had arranged for a van to take us to the airport, but the driver needed to fill the van and the trip was 45 minutes long. As a result I arrived at the airport a little later than I would have liked. The airport is rather large, and I had to ask for directions in the terminal. After getting the directions I was focused on finding my way through the atrium to go through the normal stages of security, when I heard some clapping off to my left. I stopped and looked to see what was happening and search for the celebrity that caused such a stir.
I was moved as I saw a column of uniformed men and women making their way through the atrium as the people around them applauded and waved. With a lump in my throat I put my bags down, stopped and started clapping myself.
Its been over 7 years since 9/11, but every time I see someone in uniform, I keep having the impulse to stop nd thank them for their service or ask them if I can buy them a drink or a meal, or do something for them, but my innate sense of shyness stops me from bothering them. However that doesn’t mean that I am not grateful to each and every person who endures hardship so that the rest of us don’t need to. Today was a chance to publicly do something small to show that gratitude and appreciation. This post is just another way to accomplish that . I hope tomorrow brings another chance like these.