Where did the last 10 years go? Ten years ago, my son Jason spent a wonderful summer with us...I could not have been more happy. He interned at my company and learned about thermal engineering. My company loved him and I could not have been more proud. From this experience, he set his career and now works for Lockheed doing this type of work.
The week of 9/11 my son's girlfriend came to Boston. They spent a wonderful week together here and her ticket to return to San Jose, CA was for 5 pm, on 9/11 on American Airlines. The morning of 9/11, Wally stayed home sick. Jen, Jason, Janelle were sleeping...I drove to work taking note of the stellar beautiful blue sky day. The kind that makes you just smile. The day before at work, we suffered a layoff...I could not imagine anything worse.
I was early to a meeting and sat alone in a conference room when a co-worker sat down saying what a terrible day it was...."What? What can be worse than yesterday?" I asked. He told me about a plane hitting the World Trade Center. I asked if it was a little plane. He was not sure yet. Then someone came in saying it was an airliner...and so I jumped up and went to Jason's (my son's) cube and called home. I reached Wally and he was watching this on TV. He filled me in on what was known. As we spoke the second plane hit. Then everything started to come unglued.
Work stopped. Most of us huddled numb in front of TVs in the office. Some folks left. I was glad all my babies were at home with Wally, all except Jared...he was in California. When I moved to Boston I always said, not to worry I was only a plane ride away, on 9/11 that changed. Flying has never been the same. We watched the 9/11 events stunned. No one knew how extensive the attacks would be...or if more would come. When I got home we began trying to figure out how to get Jason and Janelle home. They were both to be back in the next week for college classes. Janelle's flight was that night and cancelled. Jason's a few days later. Janelle wanted to fly home later in the week, I said no, we cannot put you on mass transit, I do not trust it. Then plans were made to rent a car and they drove home. Not an idea that thrilled Janelle, as I think she did not care for long car rides. At least I felt safer than a plane, bus, train...
There was this man who was a consultant to Avici Systems. The night before 9/11 he asked our IT person to work late so he could return the next morning early to his new bride. He had sat in my chair on 9/10...and on the morning of 9/11, he was on one of the flights out of Boston that hit one of the towers...he perished. I later read about his wife, who was so devastated in losing her new husband, that she committed suicide. Such a tragedy! This was the lone person I knew who perished.
In November, we flew to Florida to visit my parents for Thanksgiving. I was not thrilled to fly. I watched a parent place an Elmo doll in the overhead compartment for their child. The lady next to me and I watched that together and we both took comfort in this flight somehow thinking of the children aboard. After 9/11, the economy busted. High tech lost jobs in a fashion unseen before. No one cried about our job losses, nor made a plan to keep or help us. Our investments and life savings took a terrible stumble...we never imagined them not returning to previous values and we were all invested in high tech....I lost a job and was out for 4 months. Wally, lost several and it was very difficult in sales during those years. 9/11 and the aftermath hurt us deeply, mostly from an economic level.
Thankfully, this is not the case today, though high tech stocks such as Cisco have never returned to those values... Ten years ago I worked for one of the highest IPO companies of the year 2000. I lived in my dream home, I flew with no hesitation. I had 3.5 million in stock options in a black out period, near half million in stocks, all vanish before my eyes over a period of weeks...today we have great jobs, and continue to rebuild our finances but time is short at our ages to recover that sort of money. We live near two of our children and four grand kids and life is good. I do have to say though, that the last 10 years have been a hard road, but looks rosier everyday. I do think that 9/11, and the events thereafter changed my life forever and the lives of many...and as I look out to the clear, sunny blue sky day today, I am reminded of that beautiful day and I hope the US never sees another tragic day like that one.