I remember exactly where I was the moment the first plane hit on this day, 16 years ago.
I was watching TV from my apartment in Chicago as I was beginning to launch a media voice-over business. Like all of us, I couldn't believe my eyes as I was watching the Today Show.
In the day to follow, the massive city of Chicago went into almost a military style alert especially at the airports. That following weekend, I was supposed to fly back east to see my kids. Because of cancelled flights and heightened security, I didn't make it home for two weeks. I was brokenhearted, because it was another two weeks that I wouldn't see my small children at a time where I felt they needed to see their Dad. I needed to see them as well.
My voice over business was stalled for months because it was just simply inappropriate to make introductory "sales calls" and pitch business at such a horrific time in our nation.
In Chicago the days after 9-11 it was as if the city was mourning, as one person. While people at first were scared, one on one, people were a little kinder, but very, understandably, kept to themselves.
The normal sounds of big city cars and trucks were almost muffled and squelched by the gripping shock and sadness of what we all saw played out and what continued to play out on television, radio, and in print. It was eerily quiet, even though the normal flow of buses, cars and trucks flowed as normal, especially on the day of silence where a million people came into downtown Chicago to pay respects to the victims of the Twin Towers attack.
When I did make it home two weeks later, I got to see my kids Matt and Jordan. As you can imagine, all time with my kids was changed forever as I appreciated every second even more. I'll never forget the moment when Matt then nine years old, commented on the plane flying over head. He said, "Dad, is that plane gonna make it?" At nine years old, he was affected as we all were every time we saw a plane overhead.
Sixteen years later, we can't help but go back to that moment sometimes when we see a plane over head.
But, sixteen years later, we are stronger by getting through it together. Our security is better. Our ability to work through problems as individuals, co-workers and families are better.
That little boy Matt today is now twenty-five, a grad with an MBA, with great new job right here in Boston selling hedge funds.
Like Matt, we are not scared to get back on that plane and keep soaring.
Our well wishes to the families of the 9-11 victims. Your strength keeps us strong.