I remember 9/11. What do you remember?
I was on my way to MBA school to spend a day in meetings and working in the library. I ended up in the student lounge, watching the TV with utter shock. I stayed and saw the second plane crash and then ultimately the fall of both towers. I couldn’t believe it. We stayed the entire morning sharing our thoughts and wondering how and if it would change things. I didn’t know then how much things would change and be affected by it. I didn’t know then it would actually hit me, having dealt with prejudice at the border. I remember that day, just like I remember when the Shuttle exploded (Grade 10) and when Princess Diana died (I had just left a wedding)
But what I also remember was the very next day having a close friend give birth to a child. I called to congratulate with great joy and happiness for them and my fullest wishes for their special time. There was some awkward pauses, but what the response I got was basically “Bobby, you are the first person who hasn’t mentioned 9/11. You haven’t mentioned how challenging it must be celebrating this birth when there is so much death and mourning, etc”. I thought about my response and said simply:
“Life and Death go hand in hand. We should always acknowledge tragedies and mourn events around the world that affect us. But we should also celebrate the joy of birth, of life because they do happen. It’s Yin Yang and I am really sad about 9/11 but I am also really happy for you. Enjoy these incredible first moments of life and don’t ever feel bad about it.”
I learned a ton those few days, including my perspective on many things — how some had changed, while others remained the same and the rest was reflection and growth — But most of all, I remember.
What do YOU remember?
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