Today is the day we all look back and say, Where were you? or What were you doing?
On Friday, September 7, 2001, I was in the Financial District in New York City visiting an investment banking customer. The towers were there…and I barely noticed.
On Monday, September 10, 2001, my wife and our daughter caught the last flight out of Boston Logan to Houston. We decided to go as a family to combine my work with a visit to my parents.
On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I woke up and drove to my company’s headquarters in a six story building shared with President George Bush, Sr. I arrived just as the first tower was hit. My co-workers streamed into the office and joined together – in disbelief – in the board room. Over the next two hours, word spread that there were an unknown number of planes in the air and that additional targets could be hit. Soon, the building owner recommended evacuating the office because of its connection to President Bush.
Tragedy often takes time to sink in! I left the office and headed downtown to visit Enron. I was sure that I was supposed to keep this important meeting. Yet as I arrived downtown, the radio announced that key Houston employers – including Enron – were closing their high rise buildings due to the risk that oil and energy rich Houston might be a target. It was only then – stuck at a red light below 50+ story skyscrapers – that I finally realized the magnitude of what was happening. Something had forever changed…and tears finally started to flow.
As I boarded my flight this morning, I realized I was once again flying from Boston Logan to Houston on September 10th – exactly 5 years later. Yet today, life is vastly different: the towers are gone; Enron is gone; and my long-time energy career is gone.
I suppose there are many lessons we learn from 911 – the fleeting nature of wealth or the false security of military power or the fading importance of career. Above all, maybe we learn to treasure our loved ones recognizing that they can – at any time – be taken from us in a single breath of air.
No one will ever ask me What were you doing? on September 11, 2006! But I’ll tell you what I’m doing. I am thinking about and praying for my beautiful wife, my sweet daughter, and my wonderful son. I pray God will keep them safe while I am away. I pray that I will love and serve them with the conscious reality that every moment is very precious. For they are truly precious to me…
Days like 911 help us to look back…to connect with the sense of loss…and to better love those we care about. Thank you for your prayers for our family and this ministry.