For a long time I didn’t want to talk about my experience on September 11, 2001. A few years ago, I opened up about it, and wow what a flood of emotion. For several years now, on the anniversary, I have blogged my feelings about that experience. Now I would like to talk about resiliency and transformation.
After that unforgettable day, we found ourselves grieving as individuals and as a community. Once you get past that stage, it’s time to decide what to do next. At first, everyone wanted to rebuild. Others thought let us respect the ground where so many perished and have a proper memorial.
It took much longer to erect than anticipated due to arguing over how ground zero was to develop. Thirteen years later it basically has worked itself out and now there is a beautiful Freedom Tower and an appropriate memorial space.
Anyone who has been injured knows that there is physical healing, followed by emotional and mental healing. Our society as a collective is still in pain emotionally.
Children don’t realize this, but there was life before 911 and life afterward. I used to be able to run late to an airport and rush on to the plane while saving money on the food and drink I carried with me. Before 9/11 it was common to hear people say wars don’t touch our soil, we don’t have to worry. Now most American citizens worry.
My life has somewhat been a mirror to the destruction and reconstruction. Shortly after 9/11, I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis. My life fell apart. I could no longer work in my chosen profession because my lung disease required me to breathe clean air. I was in a state of shock and felt sorry for myself.
Afterward, I began the process of choosing what I would do next. I knew that I didn’t want to give up and depend on the state to sustain me. Eventually we found a path and began to recreate. My wife and life partner now also became my business partner as we started a new interpreting business in South Carolina.
Ever since, we have had to recreate ourselves into qualified professional interpreters. We have had to study hard and apply ourselves. We have diligently built a great, successful business. Emily is a state certified court interpreter. I am a certified healthcare interpreter.
Every day I interpret for injured workers. Some of them lack skill and education and expect to somehow be compensated for the rest of their lives. My experience and the lesson from 9/11 is that we must keep fighting. Human beings are amazing because we can adapt and grow. We can be industrious, educate ourselves, collaborate, and discover a new way. We should never give up!