Posted: September 12th, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 911, bravery, compassion, dignity, empathy, first responders, humanity, love, responding, September 11, United States | No Comments »
Ten years have gone and even with the passing of time, September 11 remains the one day each year that I actively dread. The slaughter of thousands by the hearts and hands of those who purport to serve the Source of all creation is in itself traumatic and obscene on many levels. But what we as a nation gained and then seemingly squandered may in fact be the greater and more enduring tragedy; for that one brief moment our inherent nobility was realized as we willingly cast all our differences and individual needs aside and our primary concern became the well being of all Americans, rich or poor, friend or stranger, pink skinned through every shade of brown. That spontaneous eruption of humanity elevated all humans and endowed profound meaning to the day’s senseless deaths.
In retrospect, the bigger loss may be the one that we have perpetrated on ourselves; as a nation, evidenced by what passes for political discourse, we are meaner spirited, smaller minded and far more selfish than I have ever seen. Our memorial to the loss of life on that crystal clear blue skied morning is unquestionably both majestic and beautiful but if that is the sole legacy of 9-11 then we are just a generation away from turning 9-11 into an empty slogan.
We must never forget the bravery and dignity of the first responders, their ultimate sacrifice as well as the lives of our family and friends. But more importantly, we must never forget how we responded. How we all elevated ourselves through caring and compassion. How without hesitation, we collectively embraced cooperation, empathy and selflessness. And when we reclaim that spirit, those qualities that define the best of humanity, September 11 will come to symbolize the day that we changed ourselves.
Posted: March 1st, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 911, Chiliean earthquake, control, experience, make every moment count, opportunity, responding, World Trade Center | No Comments »
About 9 1/2 years ago, a friend of mine was about to a begin working at a new firm. He pursued this position diligently, lobbying hard, selling his qualifications and the potential impact he could have on the company’s business. And when he was chosen, he was truly elated, as this position afforded him an phenomenal opportunity to advance in his career. So one beautiful late summer morning he woke up extra early, left his home in northern NJ and arrived eagerly at his new employer. Upon arrival, he was undoubtedly presented with stacks of forms from HR and left in some cubicle to fill them out alone. Then the first plane crashed into the tower. He left behind a wife and small kids, one just barely a year old.
This past Friday, the 15 year old son of friends left for an adventure as an exchange student. He too was undoubtedly excited about the wonderful experiences and opportunities that would unfold over the next 4 months. He would meet new friends, experience a new culture and elevate his Spanish skills to a new level. And then with in 24 hours of his arrival in Santiago, one of the largest earthquakes in modern times struck Chile. Fortunately, he was unharmed but the last that I heard, he has still yet to actually speak to his parents.
These are 2 personal examples of the world being turned upside down instantly; one caused by the senseless yet well planned action of a few men and another brought on seemingly at random by our very world. No one is immune from these exogenous events. They may not be life threatening but your life will be changed. While you can’t control external factors, you can control yourself. The only course of action is to simply accept the reality of the situation and respond appropriately. Whether that is making a last call to your wife and telling her that you love her or working closely with others for a common goal. Regardless of the outcome, every situation, good or bad, whether we realize it or not, presents us with an opportunity. It may not be the opportunity that we are looking for or one that we even want, but we don’t have that choice. However we do have the choice, or rather the responsibility to ourselves, to see these opportunities and seize them. Our lives are composed of a continuous stream of these moments. Don’t waste them. Make each one count. Make every moment your last moment.
Michael, you will not forgotten. Zach we all look forward to your safe return.
Posted: September 11th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 911, empathy, love, September 11, violence | No Comments »
Many years before September 11, 2001, I was given the most wonderful advice by the most unlikely source. It was simple and to the point: “Do not worry about the evil, just concentrate on doing the good.” That moment was transformational and still lives with me today.
So when you remember the events of 8 years ago, please take an additional moment and acknowledge all those that have been touched by violence. No matter how large or how small the acts, whether perpetrated en masse or individually and those that are documented but especially those that have been forgotten, please extend empathy.
Despite the current state of the planet, despite our collective history, I know that our legacy is not cruelty, callousness and brutality. It is concern, compassion and forgiveness. Hate begets hate. Violence begets violence. Vengeance begets vengeance. And love begets love. “Do not worry about the evil, just concentrate on doing the good.”