Day 34 of My Journey from 64 to 65 New York 0911
Twenty years on it would be impossible to write about anything else other than 911 today or not to recognise the sacrifice that was made on that day and the 20 years since, including the service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice and or been wounded, many with life changing injuries, fighting the war on terror.
I listened this morning in complete silence on BBC News, to Captain Patrick Connolly, New York Fire Department @FDNY a rookie that day and listened to his description of the people he knew that didn’t make it. However, he said one thing which really resonated with me and that was to the people who lost loved ones. That message was simply to talk about them which would help remember who they were, what they did, their hobbies, simply what made them tick. I’m sure it was these individual attributes that made each one of them, “special” to those that knew them and loved them. It struck a chord with me because when I talk about both my parents now who are now long gone, more often that not, people listen and instead of feeling sad I can smile and laugh now. It’s true what we say, we never get over losing them, but time is a great healer. I would highly recommend you take 15 minutes out of your day today to listen to what he said.
So where was I that fateful day?
2001, 11th September ironically, I had spent around 10 years, on and off, looking at different business opportunities as an alternative to the mundane 9-5pm jobs that most of us find ourselves chained to for up to 50 years. Why had I decided to take this route of research?
- I was in the 9am – 5pm lane but my lane was the fast lane, and it was more like 8am to “when it’s done” sometimes 16 hours a day and 50,000 miles a year driving. Killing myself making someone else rich!
- As a teenager learning to drive, I remember asking Sam Dunlop, who taught me to drive, telling me why he became a driving instructor. His answer has stuck with me for over 45 years now, that’s the irony of it because this is what he said. “One Friday afternoon Campbell when I was working at the steel works in Motherwell, we were all called out to bid farewell to an old fellow who was retiring after 45 years’ service. After a short speech and some polite applause, he was called forward and present with a Zippo Lighter” OK it was engraved with his name and his start date and retirement date and that was the first time I had ever heard a reference to the dash between the two dates. Sam said that dash amounted to a f@*cking Zippo Lighter and on that I decided to work for myself. It happened again two days ago. I very close friend and ex-service man joined Sky TV after leaving the army. He left the company after 26 years’ service and as a thank you they gave him 30 days free Sky TV some of the comments of Facebook were classic. When I seen Kirko’s post it reminded me of Sam’s story.
On 911, I was visiting an American Supplement Company called Life Plus. They had approached me because I had some experience in network marketing and had passed an interview which led to my invitation to their facility in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. They wanted me to be the leader helping them to open a new market in Italy. The one problem I had was I didn’t speak Italian, but I knew some one who did. A close friend and colleague of some 16 years, Vincenza, who had a similar mind set to me. She and I met up and made the journey to Cambridgeshire. After spending a few hours at the plant, we headed back to Oxfordshire where we both lived stopping of for a quick lunch at TGI Friday’s in Northampton. We had gone in her car and when I picked my car up, I had loads of missed calls on my handset. When I picked up the messages, I headed straight home to my cottage in Greatworth and turned on the TV around 10 minutes before the first tower collapsed. Like many I thought I was watching a movie. Replays of the planes crashing into the buildings interspersed with the chaos on the ground and the rest of the events that were infolding are etched in my memory as vividly today as if it happened yesterday. Very similar to what is still the worst terror attack in my own country, the bombing of PanAm 103 nearly thirteen years earlier.
Finding the right words to close this is very difficult so I will borrow a poem written by David McLansky from New York City.
They told us all ‘to just stay put,
Breathing ashes and blackened soot,
‘Put a towel against the door,
‘Wet it first, put it on the floor;
‘The Firemen were on the way,
That’s what 911 said that day;
But I’ve always had an ornery streak,
When told to obey and to be meek,
We were told to wait in that fiery din;
‘Be patient, the firemen were coming in;
The best way to reach me is on Twitter @CampbellB_Young
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