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Lessons learned nearly one year later

There’s a line in the movie "Throw Mama from the Train" that says: "A writer writes. Always." I wish it were true.

For those of us who do not make writing our full-time occupation, it can be frustrating. Finding time to write with the pressures of work, family and social life can be challenging.

Personally, I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write in months. In fact, there are some things about Sept. 11, 2001 that I still haven’t gotten on to paper. As the one-year anniversary approaches, I hope you’ll bear with me while I share them with you.

As I first turned to the television set that morning, the second plane was just about to strike the tower. I can remember thinking to myself at that very instance, "Where’s Superman?"

It’s a strange thought to have, perhaps, but it’s mine nonetheless. My generation grew up watching Superman prevent these kinds of tragedies from happening. So where was he when Metropolis really needed him?

In the days following, I learned that those two marvelous buildings of concrete, glass and steel were, in fact, filled with hundreds of supermen and superwomen in the form of police officers, firefighters and port authority workers.

Ironically, they were all too human and gave their lives fighting in a war that they didn’t even know existed.

It was sad, unbelievable and tragic all at the same time.

One of the things that helps keep this so fresh in my mind is the fact that I was away from home at the time - more than 320 miles away in Bethlehem, PA (about 85 miles from NYC). It felt like a million.

I’ll never forget hearing my 5-year-old daughter, Courtney, tell me over the telephone that night, "Daddy, two airplanes crashed into big buildings today. Lots of people were killed."

Though I tried to be brave for her, I cried, inside and out, because I knew the innocence that 5-year-olds share with the rest of the world had been lost that morning and there was nothing I could do about it.

It’s amazing how fast five-year-olds forget about things though. She’s moved on with her life. Most of us have. Of course, she had some important things going on in her life, like kindergarten, and now, first grade, that made it easier for her.

Sometimes I wish I could forget about what happened that beautiful – turned tragic - September morning in New York City. Sometimes I worry what the world will be like for my daughter as she grows older. A lot has changed since I was five. By the time her children are five who knows what this world will be like.

One thing is for certain, Sept. 11, 2001 is something every generation will be taught about from here on out.

More than just the act of terrorism, I hope our children and grandchildren are taught about the bravery of the men and women who responded to the call that morning. They are the ones who turned this event from a negative into a positive. The ones that turned hate into love.

Their acts of selflessness reminded this country where we have been, where we are and where we are going. That is what I hope none of us - my daughter and I included - never forgets.

More was under attack that morning than just a couple of tall buildings. As far as who will win this epic battle of good vs. evil remains to be seen. On the surface, it appears we lost the first round. But, when one takes a closer look I’m not so sure.

America is still here and standing strong. In most respects, we’re stronger than we were one year ago. Definitely, more aware of our weaknesses but somehow using our strengths to move ahead and face tomorrow.

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Last Updated  09/24/2013 06:06 AM