Ten years ago yesterday marks a memorable event for all Americans. It was the day our vision of the world changed. Our sense of security shattered. Our resilience and sense of humanity tested. Just as the assassination of JFK was a minute frozen in time for my parents’ generation, the September 11 attacks will forever be frozen in time for this generation. No doubt all of us can remember where we were, what we did. I remember leaving work to pick up my young children and meet my husband for a mass and prayer vigil for the victims of the attack, and I recall that helpless feeling – like things will never be the same again. I remember thinking “How can we ever feel safe again?” “How will we know Joy again?” But out of the most contemptuous and vile event came the most coveted and reviled response.
For a day, a week, a month or several months, Americans and people all over the world forgot about the day to day. The small grudges. The selfish motivations. The petty differences and the ‘what’s in it for me’ mentality. People banded together and worked to restore calm, rebuild a sense of security and alleviate pain. Many in the construction industry were among the first to offer assistance by providing equipment for search and rescue, and eventually the recovery efforts. And it is this industry continuing to be a part of the long-lasting effects of that event by playing a significant role in the rebuilding of the area, and showing ingenuity in coming up with construction solutions to address the challenges of our changing world.
Every now and then, it’s important to step back from all the anxieties of life and ground ourselves in the reality of the bigger picture. For this generation and the next, the anniversary of 9/11 will be the catalyst for that reflection.