To honour the memory of those lost in 9/11, strive to reach your full potential
The blurred picture brought it all home. It was the thought of the couple gathering extreme courage at the final moments of their lives, holding hands as they leapt one hundred storeys to the earth, leaving their workplace, their families, and their lives anonymously etched forever in this terrible day in history. One can only feel such sorrow.Nothing has come so close. The Vietnam War, which entered our own personal living room so graphically and tragically every night over a 15 year period, realised 55,000 lost souls.In a matter of hours, the eerie parallels with other wars and other tragedies in far off places stare you in the face. Grieving relatives with cell phones in long lines at hospitals and morgues; the bridges and highways out of New York full of people only, silently walking home, juxtaposed with all too common media images: mothers in Argentina looking for their families; long lines of refugees in various third world countries fleeing blank-faced and silent from their bombed out homes.A family in-law, a bond trader, worked at the World Trade Center. He evacuated his building ten minutes before the second plane struck, only to realise that so many of his friends and co-workers above the area of truncation were gone. He was one of the lucky ones. Even he could not go home to grieve; all public transportation was inoperable out of the city; his car, along with hundreds of others, crushed in the disaster area.The finance centre of the world ceased operations. Whole neighbourhoods where many investment professionals lived learned of missing people: mommies and daddies that went to work on Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, and just never came home. In spite of losing thousands of intellectual capital experts, Wall Street was only temporarily slowed. Between the tears and anguish, determined survivors pulled together - resolute in returning financial and trading platforms to normalcy. How you say, could they do this? Because they must.It is not mercenary. Above all, and in spite of unspeakable tragedy, orderly financial markets must be maintained. The world community today is interdependent. Major nations and their monetary systems provided their support by assuring liquidity in the markets that remained open, expressing cooperation and support for the United States. The United States Federal Reserve acted immediately to increase money supply, even to hauling additional cash to banks by truck. Individual investors were cautioned that selling in unstable times is not a good idea; rationality tends to fade to the background, but sound logical reasoning should come to the forefront. Corporate America will endure, and so will we.Consider what took place in the weeks and months afterward for all those left behind: widows, widowers, bereaved parents and children. After the terribly sad good-byes are said, reality sets in. Life must go on, money will be needed to buy essentials, food, diapers, transportation, and medicine. Children will go back to school. Those without partners must cope with a one-income family. Finances will need to be reviewed; insurance claims sorted out; employment must be resumed; a semblance of normality and structure will return.Everyone will look to their families and community for the emotional and practical support to help them bear this overwhelming burden.September 11, 2001 has changed our comfort zone forever. Bermuda was not unscathed and we have never felt more vulnerable. With the exception of passenger planes diverted to our island due to the blockade of US airspace, no commercial planes or boats crossed the Atlantic for more than a week to replenish our food stock or refurbish our lifestyle.We know now that we may see more (or wishfully less) human devastation through global crises, wars and negative economic conditions. These are beyond our control. The term crisis connotes catastrophe, but it is also a turning point, a crucial period of increased vulnerability and heightened potential. There is no better time to embrace the childlike joy of renewal in life than during the celebration of the holiday spirit and the promise of a New Year to come.Start the process; take the chance to try again; the chance to make things better, the chance to gain control and turn your life around. You have the power to effect positive personal change and use unlimited possibilities for service to your community.l Reconcile and reunite with your family.l Put your financial affairs in order.l Reach for closer unity with your own religious beliefs.l Strive to reach your fullest human potential.l Discover again your values and seek to pursue your own definition of a meaningful life. Why should you accept the alternative - a life of mindless consumption, frivolous pursuits and bored existence?Tragically, we lost two of our own, along with hundreds of associates and friends of guest workers. To honour their memories, reach out and re-establish relationships. If you have been on the outs; mend fences and get back on the “ins” with your family. You need them and they need you. Make a kind gesture for someone today, unasked and un-noticed. Do this for your own soul.More than ever before, we should be grateful and use this horrendous tragedy as time for community building. If you have had hard thoughts and hard words about the way things are going, hold them back. This is not the time.Let’s take inspiration from the resilience of the citizens of New York, absolutely determined to carry on. Let’s all pull together in this community of ours to make positive change. It is the only community we have.