Everything changed on September 11, 2001, when al-Qaeda attacked the United States. There were 2,996 people killed, more than 6,000 injured and many continue to die from cancer and respiratory diseases related to the attack. The world – not just the U.S. – has not been the same since.
“Normal” changed. The new “normal” included a heightened awareness of the need for security. Women who worked in high rise buildings began carrying running shoes in their bags. Air travel took longer, but people judged it was worth the wait. Businesses like AON, Morgan Stanley and Oppenheimer Funds held meetings to plan how to manage if the unthinkable happened to their offices again. Technology came to the forefront as a way to keep us safe at work, at home, everywhere.
And we began to realize there are heroes among us who reveal themselves in the midst of chaos and ruin.
It is startling to realize that Americans who are eighteen years old and younger do not remember. They were not alive then. Even those who are as old as twenty-three may not recall those days because parents tried to shield their young children from the horror. It’s important to tell them so they understand and appreciate the blessings we have.
As we reflected on 9/11, what are the valuable lessons learned? Never, never, never forget. People are more important than things. Tell your loved ones how you feel about them every day. Give honor to whom honor is due. Be prepared because life can change in an instant.