What Do You Remember About 9/11 – And Before?
Early on the morning of September 11, 2001, I was a newly minted warehouse supervisor for a farmers cooperative.
I can remember almost exactly where a customer’s truck was parked when I overheard him telling one of my co-workers something or another about a plane crash up north.
A few minutes later, I received an urgent (landline) phone call from my wife. She had been watching NBC’s “Today” show and saw breaking coverage of the suicide attacks on the Twin Towers (and other targets).
In my first few weeks as a supervisor, I made a practice of submitting a daily report about warehouse activities. I remember my September 11 entry unashamedly stated that I chose not to crack the whip on my staff that horrible day, instead allowing everyone a chance to come to terms with their shock, grief, anger and anxiety.
We humans have a knack for preserving such milestone tragedies in amber. We remember exactly where we were and who we were with when we learned about JFK’s assassination, the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger or Kurt Cobain’s death.
The incremental steps that can lead to disasters? Not so much.
One day blends into another as the decisions, shortcuts and rationalizations of our unexamined lives affect us and those around us.
True, some people are introspective enough that they can retroactively acknowledge regrettable patterns (think “Cat’s in the Cradle”), but most of us feel blindsided and start finger-pointing when things go wrong.
It’s ridiculous to think that the bullying we unloaded on Billy last Friday (or was it last Thursday?) could ever snowball into his committing suicide. But such things happen.
Election time again? Okay, pull the lever for the candidate with the biggest smile, flashiest celebrity endorsements and wildest promises. Collect your “I Voted” sticker. Then act surprised when the city, state or country falls apart. Lather, rinse, repeat.