Friday, September 11, 2009

2 Questions: Where were you? How has it changed your life?

I know this article has been written a thousand times - and most likely by more eloquent writers. But since it's my blog, and I have a story to tell that I think can relate to many, I want to share where I was 8 years ago today.

We all have moments in our lives when you can remember exactly where you were on a specific day, when a specific event occurred. For nearly every American (and many others around the world) September 11th, 2001 was one of those days.

So where were you?

Like most Americans, I was at work. But unlike most other Americans, my work was on board an Aircraft Carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, in the middle of the Arabian Sea. And on day that our homeland was being cowardly attacked, just two weeks after my youngest son, Turner (whom I had only seen in photos) was born, I felt the emotions that everyone else back home felt:

- vulnerability and that I would never feel secure in my own country again
- fear that it was only the beginning and that there was more to come
- worry for my lovely wife who was home alone on our farm in Minnesota with our 18 month daughter and 2 week old son
- awe and trepidation of the power behind the evil that exists in the world
- sadness over the senseless loss of life
- pride over the reaction of the first responders in New York, Washington, and in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania
- humbled by the smallness one can't help but feel in the face of something bigger than oneself
- and love for my wife and kids, my parents, my brothers and their families, my friends, and my fellow Americans

However, where I was, isn't nearly as important as how that fateful day has affected my life . . . How it has changed my life and how I look at my life today differently.

Like many, my life changed on September 11th, 2001.

Being in the military, you always know deep down that you could be called upon to sacrifice your life. But until that fateful day, I never thought that the lives of my family or friends were ever really threatened or held at risk by our Country's enemies. I never thought I would think I was safer on a US Warship at sea than my family on a farm in the Midwest . . . but it happened.

Never before did I honestly believe that I wouldn't be going home and seeing my family again, but on that day forward. I did . . . until I held them all in my arms again.

Life is precious.

We don't know what can happen that will change things forever in our lives.

So, it's incumbent for each of us to live each day as if it were the first day of the rest of your life .. . . as if it were September 12th. And live our lives with the memory that it could be the last . . . without any notice.

And finally, we shouldn't just do it today in honor of those who lost their lives on this day eight years ago. But we should live every day in honor of every man, woman and child who have and ever will give their lives in the name of our freedom or the freedom of any other human.

Bless you all, who have taken the time to stop and remember what today means. . . what it represents . . . and how it affected your life, FOREVER.


  1. Where? At home, slowly getting ready for work after a late night in the office. Totally puzzled by the first hit, absolutely convinced we were under attack as the second plane hit.

    Change? I vowed never to miss the chance to thank the people who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. JJ Reich, Thank you for your service to all who love freedom.


  2. @BillsLawOffice,

    You are welcome. And Thank You so much for the comment. Taking the time to stop and leave a comment means a lot to me.


  3. It is still hard for me think and talk about that day. Having grown up in a military family and held the hands of friends who lost loved ones. Having spent over 20 years never knowing if my father would be the next one who would not come home. That sense of honor, pride and fear of loss came flooding back that day. Having lost friends in both the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the memory of that fateful day constantly pulls at my heart. I well know the desire to pull my loved ones close and never let go. You state it perfectly when you say the best we can do is live every moment. Love deep, laugh often, hold our friends and loved ones close and never, ever forget. Thank you JJ for your service, may it never be taken for granted or forgotten.