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How Will We Respond?

September 11th, 2001 was a beautiful, warm and sunny morning. A better day could not be had. I was standing on the deck of Team Trek’s Main Lodge with a client group when I got a hand signal from my wife Lori that was urgent. I knew something was terribly wrong and paused the debrief to find out what it was.

She whispered to me that two passenger jets had crashed into the World Trade Center within minutes of one another, and two other planes were missing. Heartbreak, anger and chaos followed. To this day I remember the sick feeling in my stomach, the rage I felt, and thinking to myself this can’t happen to us. This is America.

I have never been prouder to be an American than I was following those fateful days that have come to be known simply as 9-11. Americans came together and were forged into a steeled response, regardless of political persuasion. I doubt this county was ever more unified, short of WWII. We were one people, resolved with one purpose. Yes, we had been caught flat footed by the terrorists. They had discovered the vulnerabilities of a free country and struck us a bloody blow.

The blow, however, was not mortal to our country. Instead, it galvanized us. It made us stronger and more purpose driven. We figured out what we did wrong, fixed it, enacted laws and made changes that allowed intelligence agencies to communicate better.

Now we are under attack again, this time by a virus of which we have little experience. As before, Americans are fearful of the unknown and off balance as to what this all means. We are once again challenged by forces outside our control.

These kind of adversities come with very real pain – losing a loved one, keeping a small business afloat, losing our savings, or even losing a job while trying to care for our kids who are now at home. It’s important to acknowledge the reality of that pain. However, just as it was with 9-11, it is equally important we answer the question, “How will we respond?”

I believe we will respond out of our values and character as Americans, and we will all come together. No matter how painful this crisis is, this too will ultimately pass. And our families, communities and nation will grow stronger as a result of it.


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