In a New York Minute; Everything can change
Seven years ago today, in a New York minute, everything changed. Our world was rocked on its axis. Our marvelous, brash American confidence was shaken to its core.
I don’t want to get political here, but I’ve noticed in the years since the September 11 attacks that people have reacted in a variety of ways. Some have become selfless missionaries for true world peace while others have used the fallout of the attacks to further their own selfish agendas.
Our emotions have run the gamut from outrage to despair, from hatred to sorrow, from terror to pride. I know people who are so overcome with anger and hatred that they cannot be in the same room with anyone of the Muslim faith. I know people so entrenched in fear that they vow to never fly again.
I understand all of these reactions. They each make sense to me, even if I do not share them.
My reaction to that terrible day can be summed up in one word: Defiance.
I defy anyone to make me cower.
I defy anyone to make me hate.
I defy anyone to make me give up one iota of my rights as an American citizen, for whatever reason.
I defy anyone to make me judge an entire population by the actions of a tiny, hate-filled group.
I defy anyone to make me less than I am.
I am lucky. I was supposed to fly on September 11. But just before 9am, as I was preparing to leave work to head to the airport, we heard the awful news. I wasn’t going anywhere near the East Coast, but I could easily have become trapped somewhere for a week or more. Several friends of mine were stuck in various cities, forced to pay outrageous prices at hotels who thought the “American way” meant gouging their customers in a time of National crisis.
I was among the first to fly again after the attacks. I flew to a vendor meeting on September 18, one week to the day after that brutal day. My mother begged me not to go. My boss told me I didn’t have to go if I didn’t want to.
But I’d be DAMNED if I’d let a group of hate-filled crusaders bent on using fear as a weapon to destroy my confidence and pride in out great nation.
I will always remember September 11, but I will never forget who I am.