Sep 11, 2012 by

Like every day, I rode my bike to work.  Our car had died some time before and we weren’t really in position to get a new one.  We lived close to everything, so we thought it would be a good way to get exercise and not drive drunk.   I’m not a morning person, so the idea of riding my bike to work was much better at night than it was at 6:30am on any given day, but once I was in the middle of it I usually found something redeeming about the ride.

I remember how beautiful everything was that particular morning.  I had to be to work early and the sun was barely up, just enough to make the dew glisten and the Russian River sparkle.  It was crisp and clear and the kind of day that makes you feel glad to be alive.  Days like that tell you anything is possible.

I pulled in to the back of the warehouse to park my bike and walk up to my little office.  I was greeted by one of the older guys in maintenance, Gordon, a fellow I knew by name, but rarely talked to.  He was wide eyed, “Alan, did you hear, did you hear?  They got us?”  I was sweaty and a little annoyed to be confronted with such agitation after such a peaceful ride.  “Who got us?  Who’s us?”. “The terrorists got us; they got the World Trade Center!”  I didn’t believe him.  I’m not even sure I responded to him.  I just parked my bike and walked inside to hide and look at the internet.

What happened next happened to all of us in some form or fashion.  We found TVs, computers or radios (we still used radios in 2001) and we did what we could to stop what we were doing and find out what was going on in NYC.  If we didn’t have electronic access we called people who did to get the story.  We sat in shock, in anger, in grief.  We realized most of the things we concerned ourselves with before 8:46 on 9/11/2001 didn’t mean the same after.  While there were certainly some ready to call for blood, most of us just wanted to find the people we loved and be with them.  We worried for our friends in New York, we worried about their families and on some level, we worried about the future.  Whatever happened next, wasn’t going to be what would have happened next had the morning’s events never transpired.

But they did, and here we are, still standing.  How well we’re standing is up for debate and you’ll get different answers from just about everyone you talk to; I’m not going to offer up my opinion on that, I’ll let you all work that out for yourselves.  I think the more important part is that we’re still doing it; every day.  We get up, we do what we can, and we get up and do it again.  We still laugh, we still love and we still make plans.  As horrible as that day was, as much as it felt like nothing would ever be the same, we’ve still gone on with the art of living – that makes me more proud to be an American than anything else anyone could possibly say.

Thanks to everyone that continues to make it possible for us to do what we do, you know who you are.

Peace and Love to NYC eleven years later, I’ll let the Beastie Boys close this one out…



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  1. jan ankerson

    You touched my heart with your simple and poignant words…thank you!

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