September 11, 2001--before it was dubbed “9/11”--represented a different time in America, and over the past 10 years a lot has changed.
I for one have had two different careers in that time span, and just as many cars. On the morning of September 11, 2001, I awoke to the morning news, just as I did every morning prior. But there was something different about this day. I felt as though I was caught somewhere between reality and the abyss of a morbid dream. I proceeded to sleepwalk through the day that forever changed my life’s path.
The next day as I sat in my office in Silicon Valley at one of the valley’s top law firms, I began to craft a plan to improve the quality of life for others on a full-time basis. I became a Red Cross volunteer, I began to use my experience and education to assist inner city community groups in crime prevention and a short time after I even co-founded a non-profit organization with San Francisco elected officials and community leaders. I felt as though 9/11 was the wake up call of wake up calls, and was reminded of my own mortality and wanted to do more than the normal grind of the daily rat race.
My response, according to some research, is in line with that of the responses of just more than 20 percent of Americans who began to donate more time or money to charity. Attendance at religious activities was up, along with people spending more time with their children, friends and family; conversely divorces were up, as was drinking.
It goes without saying the effects of 9/11 reached further than those lost on flights 11, 77, 175, and 93, the Pentagon or at the World Trade Center. Zona Latina puts it this way:
“Whether or not a person can be medically classified as having PTSD, there is no denying that there are major psychological effects for many people. A cataclysmic event has the psychological consequence of making us aware of the fragility of our existence. This is a moment to gain perspective on life and focus on those things that really matter. Most prominent is the need to connect with loved ones. Patriotism, altruism and religious spiritualism figure too.”
On May 1, 2011, while waiting in a line for almost an hour with my daughter at the “Happiest Place on Earth” (Disneyland) as the news of Osama bin Laden's death came in, I couldn’t help but think, “It just got happier!"
So I ask you:
-How has your life changed over the nearly past 10 years?
-In what way was 9/11 the impetus for any changes in your life?
Just a little housekeeping: as a school board member I may talk a little education; as a volunteer, I may talk a bit about community outreach; as a youth developer I may advocate on behalf of our youth; as a father I might even brag or embellish as only a parent will. Above all I am not perfect, so I will make mistakes, but they will always pan out in the end.
Case in point: I rushed to the theatre at the end of last year to see a movie I thought was called “The King Speech,” and while I was pleasantly surprised with the would-be Oscar-winning film, it was not a documentary about Martin Luther King’s march on Washington and his “speech”… All jokes aside, let me know what you think and let’s continue to have this virtual chat over coffee.