September 11th seems to sneak up on me each year. With summer vacation, kids going back to school, Labor Day and the start of the NFL season, it feels like I wake up and realize 9-11 is either the next day or very close by. We all remember where we were and what we did on September 11th, 2001. I was sitting in my office and saw the World Trade Center on TV with the media reporting that a plane had it one of the towers. I kept thinking that didn’t make sense. Where was the little plane? Who ever could have thought that it was a huge jet. I kept wondering why the camera didn’t show the ground where this supposed plane would be in bits and pieces.
Teri & I were engaged at that point and we vividly remember exchanging AOL emails on what we thought was just a little “accident”. The stock market index futures were selling off after the news broke. I thought, “what a great buying opportunity”! I mean, why would people sell stocks because a little Cessna plane had accidentally flown into one of the towers.
Then the second plane hit and people immediately had footage. I remember standing in my office in disbelief. Speechless. Shock. I had friends in the WTC.
As the day continued to unfold, people in my office park kept coming in to my office as we were the only ones with TV. I think everyone felt comforted to be surrounded by others. “I can’t believe this” became the refrain of the day. Over and over and over.
I later learned that I lost my childhood and high school friend, Chris Murphy, along with a college fraternity brother, Charlie Dolan, whom I did not know well. We all lost someone directly or indirectly. The stories began to pour out of those who were supposed to be in the WTC that morning or who turned around because something else happened. My good friend Alison got out of the taxi a little before 8:30am on that day for work in front of the towers. She realized she forgot important work at home and turned right around and headed back to her apartment. She was one of the lucky ones. Her boyfriend worked for Cantor Fitzgerald and he was tragically not.
In my travels over the years, I have met a number of people who got out. They talk about being covered is dust and debris, struggling to breathe and running for their lives. Few went back to work in New York City. All were profoundly changed forever.
One thing the terrorists miscalculated, the American spirit and resolve. This unspeakable attack brought the country together like hadn’t been seen in many decades. No one was prepared to let evil win.
In remembrance of those who perished at the cowardly hands of murderers, we will be donating what amounts to today’s firm profits to a fund for the benefit of those families directly impacted.
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