Ten Years Since 9/11, and Our Lives Have Changed

September 11, 2001 represented a different time in America, and over the past 10 years a lot has changed… including you and I.

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.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jamie White May 06, 2011 at 04:56 PM
Maurice, thank you for sharing your experiences after 9/11 ~ I think it's great you became a Red Cross volunteer and I'm sure helping others has changed your life in positive ways. I am from the Bay Area, but was living in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001 ~ had just moved there for grad school in July. I remember waking up to my roommate telling me to turn on the TV... something terrible had just happened, a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center downtown. My mind started racing as if I was having a nightmare .. this couldn't be real. A few of my friends worked in one of the towers. [Fortunately, one of them called in sick that day and the other two make it out OK] And even though I was just a few miles away, it felt as if it was all happening far away. So, I walked up to my school's campus... and I remember the somber quietness in the air.... it was a blue-sky clear sunny day, but it felt as if the world was ending, literally. There were no planes, and the bustling, noisy city was suddenly silent. I tried to give blood.... victims would need blood. But they had too many volunteers. I am a journalist, so I walked down toward the WTC with friends.... several of us stood outside of one of the main hospitals for hours waiting for victims to arrive.... but that was the part that made me feel so empty inside, most either made it out just fine or they lost their lives that day. The people of NY, I learned that day and in the days after, are amazingly strong, kind and heroic.
Jamie White May 06, 2011 at 05:03 PM
And to answer your question, how has my life changed since that day? It has changed A LOT. Like many, but especially living in New York at that time, I live every moment and every day [at least I try] as if there might not be a tomorrow. I remember not to leave the house without saying "I love you." I smile more at strangers for no reason at all, because you just never know who might really need one that day.
Drew Himmelstein May 06, 2011 at 10:24 PM
My life has changed a lot, but it's hard to separate the effects of 9/11 from just growing up. I was in college on 9/11 and then moved to Washington, DC, so the political climate that 9/11 created felt very present in my young adulthood. At my first job, I worked with new immigrants who were trying to make their lives work in the United States, so the question of what it meant to be American was very significant. It created a new reality, and the death of Osama bin Laden doesn't change that.
Maurice Dupra Goodman May 07, 2011 at 08:46 PM
@Jamie Your experience really painted a picture of not only what it was like in the city, but what it was like to experience the immediate dispare and the actions of the multitude of unofficial deputized nameless and faceless heroes such as yourself that truly define what being American is all about. Our military is the armor, our first responders make up our tough resilient skin and "we" the people are the heart and soul of this Country good, bad and/or indifferent. @ Drew Thank you for sharing and I agree, his death doesn't change anything. However, it does close a chapter in one of the darkest tragedies in our nation's history. My only hope is that it brings some solace and closure to the many families of those lost on that dark day of September 11, 2001.


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