Today is the day marking the 5th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well as the crash of Fight 93, a flight that was said to be on its way to the White House before its passengers revolted and crashed the plane into farmland in Pennsylvania. This day will become as momentous to us as November 22, 1963, was to our parents. I remember being in third grade and one of the questions on my history homework was to ask my parents what they were doing that November day. Our children and grandchildren may one day have a similar question of us about the Sept. 11, 2001, events.
I vividly remember what I was doing that day — sitting in my home office in Jasper, TX, about to fire my financial planner. However, it was tough to get her attention because she continued to be distracted by something going on at the World Trade Center. I was annoyed that she was watching the news while I was trying to have a conversation with her. However, I finally got her to close my account, but at the time was still oblivious to what was happening in the world until a friend called me from Tyler to ask if I had heard about the plane flying into the 2 World Trade Center Towers and the collapse of one, perhaps both by that point. At that point I finally turned on the television and watched the replay of the horrific events of that day, and proceeded to watch almost non-stop for the next three days.
The most stark realization I had of the enormity of loss of human life came from a broadcast from one of the NYC hospitals. They had mobilized lots of medical personnel to this particular hospital to prepare for emergency triage, as is common when large numbers of people are involved in car or train crashes. The news crew would cut to the hospital to get an update on injuries and causalities, and there was nothing to report, as no ambulances were arriving at the hospital. They would periodically cut to the hospital every 5 minutes or so, until it became apparent that no one was being sent to the hospital, as they were no bodies. At that point I knew that we as a country were in serious trouble, and that this was an event of epic proportions.
However, long before the events of 9/11/2001 occurred, September 11 was special to me in other ways. It was the date of my dad’s birth, 9/11/08 (yes, that’s right — 1908) and well as the date of my late boyfriend Chip’s birth, 9/11/61. My dad didn’t live to see the events of 2001 unfold, as he died in August 1986 on my first day of class in my second year of grad school. He would turn 98 today if he were still alive. It was kinda strange growing up in a household in which your parents are 25 years apart in age, and your dad being about 53 years old when you were born. My dad was just a little bit younger than my maternal grandparents, 7 years younger than my grandmother and 10 years younger than my grandfather.
Chip also didn’t live to see the events of 9/11/01. We had started dating in Feb. 2001 and he died suddenly of liver and kidney failure at age 39 in late July 2001. I was devastated by his death, as it seemed so impossible that a man of 39 years of age would experience complete organ failure like he did. Chip had an amazing sense of humor and had me in stitches before we even met — we had met via an online dating site and I agreed to speak to him by phone because his emails cracked me up. He also had a pilot’s license and love to fly and worked in his dad’s plane refueling business at the Orange Country airport while he was attending college to become a nurse.
The great irony in my current relationship with Eric is that Eric lives about 2 blocks from where Chip lived in Orange. I drove by Eric’s house every time I drove to see Chip, completely unaware that a short 5 years later, I would be living with Eric only blocks from Chip’s home. It took me almost 2 months to agree to move to Orange with Eric, as Orange held very sad memories for me. One day last November, however, I decided I needed to take a drive and say a final good-bye to Chip. I went by his house, now occupied by another family, drove past the funeral home that hosted his service, and drove out to the cemetery to see if I could really do this. I cried a few more tears for Chip, but decided that I couldn’t let my memories stand in the way of moving forward with my life. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made..:)
So, while the memories of 9/11/01 cast a pall over this day for many people, I’m going to celebrate being alive today. Happy 98th Birthday, Daddy, and Happy 45th Birthday, Chip.
Best-selling author Donna Gunter works with successful business owners who are experts in their fields and established in their industry and are seeking a way to stand out from their competitors. Using her Ideal Clients on Autopilot System©, she helps them determine the exact strategies to generate more qualified leads and better-paying clients with automated systems. This proven system makes all their marketing easier and more effective and they find themselves positioned as the only choice for their clients.