Remembering 9/11

I’m about to board a flight to London from SeaTac Airport. Ten years ago today, I was living and working in London when a staff member told me that a terrorist had flown a plane into a building in New York City. I brushed it off as misinformation or a possible accident as I was rushing off for a sales presentation. By the time I had gotten to my appointment the full reality of 9/11/2001 hit me right in the gut.

For the next few days my wife and I were mesmerized in front of the tele at David Lloyd’s Fitness Club in South Kensington (we had tried to live without a TV in London but that immediately changed). I remember the feeling of guilt being away as tragedy strikes your home. Now, I know why some of my Syrian and Libyan friends were anxious to try to go home during the unrest in their respective countries. But there were plenty of people to commiserate with as all of London went into morning with most of the rest of the world. On the tube, in Covent Garden, on the buses, everyone was sympathetic, appalled, depressed. People provided support for one another.

Then, I got an email from a friend telling me about his friend who was stuck in London and couldn’t get home although his colleagues were affected by the terrorist attack. My wife and some friends met with him and we encouraged one another. Just recently, he found me again on Facebook and thanked me for those days together.

Throughout Europe, there was a minute of silence planned. I left my office not wanting to be emotional in front of my employees. As I stood outside in the London streets, I saw the street cleaners, the bus drivers, road workers and everyone else bow their heads in a moment of silence. It was the most connected I’ve ever felt with so many people. I knew then that the world was in this together.

That was a defining day for a lot of people and for our nation and for the world. For me, I realized how connected we are were throughout the world, that while a few want to disrupt world order, humans stand together when tragedy hits humanity.