From My Perspective: 9/11 Life and Death

In remembrance of Peter Hashem, Flight 11, Seat 20A
Struck the North Tower at 8:46:40 am EST.

This column is different for me. This one is a little more personal. Unlike my usual columns, this is to not only give some perspective to myself, in a way it might share some with you also.

The only thing I can say to start is: Life is precious. And, when it ends for what ever the reason, at any time, chances are you will not have any control of the timing or the circumstances. So live to your fullest everyday. Regardless of where you are in life for the unexpected, and the horrific, can happen to you, not just someone else.

When the tragedy on 9/11 happened, it changed many of us, if not all. Like most, I remember exactly where I was. I also remember standing in line at my local bank moments after it happened, watching the televisions while waiting in line in utter disbelief along with everyone else in the bank. For all of us – time had stopped.

The days and months that followed with the stories of heroism and the outpouring of help and support are well documented. For myself, living in New England at the time, one had either gone to Ground Zero personally as to try to offer any help or, someone you knew had.

I owned a local deli at the time. The owner of a company which supplied me with breads went back and forth to Ground Zero nightly to pass out muffins and pastries to the rescue teams working through the night only to drive back to New Hampshire and then start his own deliveries.

No one complained. No one ever mentioned how hard it was. No one was looking for any credit. It was just done. Period. That’s just the way it was and how everyone viewed it.

On that day many of us changed. We viewed life a little differently from that point. Life suddenly hit you with laser focus. You could no longer trivialize the sage of: life is precious. For you now clearly understood the meaning of: death can come at any moment, from anywhere.

No longer was this an esoteric exercise. This was life at its core, and it was playing out in front of our eyes leaving no gray area to ponder. You either got it – or you didn’t. There was no middle ground.

To honor that tragic event, I myself set new rules, new guidelines in how I was going to go forward in life. I decided I would live life – my way, by my rules. And, if I were to die today – so be it.

I could say this because I truly was going ensure I was living.  Not just some bystander in life trying to merely exist or, just get by like so many other do. Those are not the reasons why we’re given life. It’s given to us – to live, to be alive. It’s not to play in some endless game of defense only as to: go along to get along. Rather, it’s to use what ever talents we have or, develop them and push ourselves to not just survive this game but rather to play on offense and thrive! That, is the epitome of living in my world.

September 11, 2001 changed my life forever, Yet, to honor the lives of the people who perished on that tragic day, I decided to use it as a reminder that while on this Earth, I should make sure I was engaged in living.

Live everyday. Take nothing, nor anyone for granted. Live today as to chase the dreams of tomorrow. For if we do that one simple step, whether we reach those dreams or not…

Regardless of when our ticket gets called, it will be known that we had lived.

For you see, Peter was not just someone who tragically died on that day. He was the younger brother of my close friends growing up.
Life doesn’t just happen to someone else. It happens to us all.

© 2013 Mark St.Cyr