“Who you are is where you were when”

My daddy used to always say “Who you are is where you were when”.  Meaning the events we experience in life effect who we are. For my generation September 11, 2001 is one of those days, along with the beginning of the Persian Gulf War. For my parent’s generation life changing events include the assassination of John F. Kennedy. While my grandparents were impacted by such events as the bombing of Pearl Harbor and D-Day. Since today is the twelfth anniversary of the day none of us will forget, I would like to share where I was when the twin towers fell.

Sept 11

I was living in Alabama. I had already “retired” to be able to raise my family. My oldest was 16 months old and was a happy, active BOY. The morning started like any other and my hubby had left for work. I had the Today Show on the television when the first plane hit. After the second plane when we realized what was going on, the first thing I did was call my husband. I could not believe what was going on. There were so many unknowns.

I spent the rest of the morning on the phone with 2 of my girlfriends. We all had young boys close in age and lived life together. The three of us were watching the news while taking care of our boys, so if any of us heard any news we would call the others. Life does not stop for much when you have a 16 month old. Our husbands later called us the HNN (Hen News Network).

By lunch time, I realized that there was nothing I could do but pray. Watching the television replay the same images repeatedly was heart breaking. Never before had I imagined such a scenario. There were so many unanswered questions and no one knew what would happen next. Throughout the day, everytime I would worry, all I could do was pray and force myself not to turn on the television.

This one event brought this country to our knees. The next Sunday, churches across the nation were packed. As time passed and the images were not in our face each day, we returned to the life we had before September 11th. Pictures are floating through the internet claiming that we will never forget, yet our everyday actions have not changed (unless you are flying and have to go through airport security).

If the saying “Who you are is where you were when” is true, are we really any different after experiencing September 11th, 2001?

NOTE: Upon researching my father’s saying I learned that this is a modification of Morris Massey management theory “What you are is where you were when.”  He believed that lives experiences affect what motivates us, and how management needs to relate to each generation to motivate them.


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