Today marks the tenth anniversary of the tragedy of September 11, 2001. It was unbelievable to look at that after typing it. In some ways, it feels like it was a century ago. In other ways, it feels like it was yesterday. 3,044 people lost their lives that day. These are fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, grandfathers and grandmothers who have not been there for holidays, graduations, birthdays, weddings, and other major events.
It is funny the things you remember. I remember it pouring rain the night before. I remember the weather being perfect. I remember the big news story that morning was that Michael Jordan was returning to the NBA to play for the Washington Wizards. Like most, I will never forget where I was when I heard the news. I was in a second period class in my sophomore year of high school. The teacher of that class was a vice principal who got called out of class for 20 minutes. When she returned, she said, "The terrorists have flown airplanes into the World Trade Center."
For those directly impacted, 9/11 is never off their minds. Some experienced it and were lucky enough to get out. Others lost somebody. Others still voulnteered their services in the aftermath helping to clean up the World Trade Center and now have major health problems as a result. One is a friend of mine. Even indirectly, some lost their lives. I think of ABC News' Peter Jennings, who was so distraught covering the event that he started smoking and died of lung cancer in 2005. For those of us lucky to have not been affected, this day is a chance to remember all that was lost, the innocent, those figherfighters, police officers, EMT professionals, and civilians who bravely put themselves into harm's way to try and help others, the heroes of United Flight 93, and all others.
I have traditionally shut the blog down on the 9/11 anniversary. For obvious reasons, that will be impossible today. We will get back to football for posts throughout the day leading up to tonight's game. I know you come here for my take on football, but I would like to add my perspective on what I feel we can take from 9/11. That comes after the jump.
I have read some comments on this site over the past few days talking about people going to the game adjusting plans tonight for fear of an attack. I do not think anything less of those who choose to do so, but I cannot think of a worse possible lesson to take from that horrible day. Life is something to be enjoyed fully. It is precious. We should spend each day doing everything we can to enjoy it because tomorrow is not guaranteed. Unless you have hard evidence and specifics, you never know where real danger is. Who would have thought people were putting their lives at risk by going to work that day? Even staying in your house is not necessarily safe. There are cases where airplanes have crashed into people's homes. Sometimes bad things happen, and it comes down to luck. Some people had their lives saved on 9/11 because their alarm clock failed, and they were late to work or missed their flight.
Enjoy life. Do not put plans off. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. If you don't like your job, find something you will enjoy. If you regret not finishing college, start taking classes. If you think somebody in your life is special, tell them. Maybe things won't work out, but don't leave yourself wondering what your life would have been like if you just had made that big move. You don't necessarily need to quit your job tomorrow, but start looking. You don't need to take a full slate of classes, but take one each semester.
Sometimes it just isn't your time, and you need to stay persistent. I'll share with you a personal story, which is a small, small example of this, and one I'm not sure even my bosses with the network realize. When I first saw the SB Nation site, I badly wanted to write for it. I saw they did not have a Jets writer so I sent an e-mail to apply. I got a reply that they had somebody else they liked better. So that guy wrote for the Jets for a while. They eventually needed a new writer. I applied again. Guess what happened. I got another reply that they had a new Jets guy and were going to go in that direction. Eventually they needed a new guy. A friend of mine who wrote for the network told me about it and encouraged me to apply. I was not going to. He talked me into it, and for the past three years I have been captain of this ship. The lessons are be patient and don't take no for an answer.
Also remember that we are more alike than we are different. After 9/11, we came together as a country. As time has gone on, our country has lost that spirit. Now many look for reasons we are different. Just think of the people you know here on GGN. There are people of all races and religions. There are liberals and conservatives. You just don't know it. You have friends here because of what makes us similar. Would it make you think less of anybody here if you met them and found out they were different? No way.
I will leave you with the greatest speech I have ever heard on how to live life. It was from Jim Valvano, former NC State basketball coach accepting the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 1992 ESPY's as he was dying of cancer. This was not related to 9/11. It took place almost a decade before, and Valvano died shortly after. I have never heard a better lesson, though.