Resilience: What Happens the Day After 9/11?

What can we take with us from all of the tragedies in the world? We don’t want to dwell, for dwelling is counterproductive. However, when something tragic happens, it’s a learning opportunity. From time to time, we need to remember the cold, harsh realities around us in order to shift our perspective back into gratitude.

Can gratitude be a natural state without having to be cultivated as the result of horrible events? It’s in loss, that we finally realize what we have. I don’t think it has to be that way.

My daughter asked me today if I remember what happened on September 11th. I tell the story of how she was in my tummy at the time. I was working for Discover, the credit card company. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter (who owns Discover) had employees that were on several floors of the towers and they turned our retention and customer service line into a crisis hotline to help people in the building locate each other and their family members. I spoke with the people inside the towers as they were collapsing and also their family members who were trying to find them as everything was happening.

A digital illustration I created years ago.

A digital illustration I created years ago.

Today is also the anniversary of my Grandmother’s death back in the year 2000. I went on to explain how I used to see the New York City skyline from my Grandmother’s window.  I’m a native of New Jersey and spent a lot of time in New York. It’s a part of me, it’s home to me.  My daughter said, “Today is a hard day for you, huh? How did you feel about knowing that you were going to have me when there was all of this terror going on?”

My answer was that I was fearful. In the following days and months after 9/11, all I remember was that I fell into a deep depression. I turned and said, “But no matter what happens, you have to keep going. Also as a country, we had to stick together to get through it. That’s the only way. That’s what resilience is about. You get back up, there’s no choice in the matter.”

The sun is setting on today and tomorrow we’ll wake up, maybe with a pang in our heart. Or maybe tomorrow we’ll have forgotten all about 9/11 until next year, until the next commemoration ceremony. But ask yourself, why do we choose to remember? We do for many reasons:

To honor those that we have lost.

To honor our heroes who selflessly gave everything.

To honor those that still give to our society, day in and day out.

To feel the fragility of being human.

To know our days are numbered and in the ones you have, to make the most of them.

To remember that you don’t have to lose, to find gratitude.

To know that evil will never fade, but we can choose to be good.

To cherish the ones we love, both those that passed and those that are living.

To get back up. That’s what we do. We’re resilient.

 Remember this, every day, September 11th and beyond.

One Response to Resilience: What Happens the Day After 9/11?

  1. Lisa says:

    I think the thing about events like 9/11 is they give us a collective point of connection. I hear your story and it resonates with me, because I have a 9/11 story like it, and every else has their story too.

    I think what we all learned that day, collectively, together, and in very painful and individual ways was,
    To get back up. That’s what we do. We’re resilient.

    We learned we were more resilient than we ever thought we’d have to be, and that’s not a bad lesson in the end.

    Thanks for sharing.

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