What lessons linger from 9/11?

One Southeast Texan’s 9/11 Memories:

9/11 was over a decade ago. The worst of it happened far from the relative peace of Southeast Texas.

What lessons still linger from that horrible day? 9/11 Beaumont, 9/11 Port Arthur, 9/11 Nederland TX, 9/11 Lumberton TX

I was in New York City during 9/11, and there are a few observations I’d like to pass on. Maybe one or two will be helpful when planning your Southeast Texas wedding.

9/11 began like any other day. On Long Island, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, The  Bronx, Brooklyn, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania people woke up, got dressed, and made their way into downtown Manhattan for work.

If America is a melting pot, New York is ever so much more so. In the World Trade Center, the workers were from every ethnicity and religion (yes, including LOTS of Muslims). They represented every financial background (from extremely rich brokers to very poor guys delivering bagels). I worked with a young man who was born and grew up in New York City, but who spent his life almost exclusively in Chinatown. He was much more comfortable in Chinese and spoke English with a heavy Chinese accent.

The people who died in 9/11 were just as diverse in where they were in life, and in their relationships.

In New York City it is common for first marriages to happen when people are in their late 20s or 30s. New Yorkers often live with their parents or with roommates well into adult hood while they launch careers (and ideally save money!).

Many people died in the World Trade Center who’d been engaged or in committed relationships for years, waiting for everything in their lives to be perfectly lined out before marriage – waiting for a promotion at work, to close on a home, or for their 401K to be fully vested.

  • Observation 1: We are not promised tomorrow. If you know someone is right, make the leap. Even a few days or months of a wonderful marriage will mean so much more than decades of wondering what might have been.

My roommate’s cousin died on 9/11. She didn’t just die, she completely disappeared when the towers came down. My roommate left his job and spent weeks at Ground Zero volunteering in hopes of finding something to bring her family. No trace of her was ever found.

  • Observation 2: You mean a lot to your family. Even if you don’t always feel close to them, include them when you can, even if it is quick phone calls, texts, and e-mails. If something happens to you, they will appreciate any and all of your efforts to keep them updated on your life. If something happens to them, you won’t have the guilt of having closed them off from your life.

I shouldn’t have gotten out of Manhattan that day as easily as I did. A pushy stranger talked our way into a cab and harangued the police into letting us over the Queens Bridge after they’d been ordered to shut it down. We were in the last cab over the bridge out of Manhattan that day. Since there was no one behind us, we stopped in the middle of the bridge to look at the towers. One had already fallen and the second fell as we watched. It was scary and very difficult to comprehend and assimilate. For twelve hours, workers walked out of Manhattan, some for miles all the way through Queens until they reached the Long Island Railroad. I didn’t deserve it more than anyone else, but because of the kindness of a pushy stranger, I was able to get out of Manhattan safely, quickly, and with much less hardship than most.

  • Observation 3: The kindness of strangers can make a huge impact on your life. Appreciate it when you’re the recipient, and be that kind stranger for others when you can to “pay it forward”.

For the nation at large, the main weapon on 9/11 was fear. For a long time, Americans had been very, very safe within our borders. Perhaps for a very long time, we were one of the safest populations on earth. As long as we stayed in our 50 states, we had relatively little to fear compared to the world at large. After 9/11, many Americans, myself included, made a number of major life decisions out of fear. People postponed marriages, quit stable jobs, moved out of the big cities into relatively safe feeling  rural areas, and canceled trips abroad. The biggest tragedy is for the first time in most of our lives, Americans were lived in fear within our borders. This was most true in the cities directly involved in 9/11, but those populations were home to tens of millions of Americans. Few of us were able to remain unaffected the first time we went to an airport and saw armed soldiers in the terminal.

  • Observation 4: At the end of your life, you’ll want to look back and see that you made decisions based on achieving your dreams rather than out of fear. Making decisions based on your dreams lets you become someone you want to be. Making decisions out of fear makes your life smaller.


9/11 Southeast Texas, 9/11 Port Arthur TX, 9/11 Nederland TX, 9/11 Mid County, 9/11 Groves TX, 911 Bridge City TX

I know this is a departure from what we normally do here on SETXweddings.com. We love helping brides create fairy tale Southeast Texas weddings.

Tomorrow we’ll go back to helping you find the perfect Beaumont wedding dress boutique, the right Orange caterer, the perfect Hardin County makeup specialist.

9/11 seemed to big to let pass without paying tribute in some way.

Best wishes to all of our Southeast Texas brides- we’ll be back to assist you in planning your perfect Southeast Texas wedding tomorrow.

9/11 Southeast Texas, 9/11 Port Arthur,

We hope you have enjoyed “One Southeast Texan’s 9/11 Memories“.

  • Daryl Fant, Publisher. SETX Weddings
  • (512) 567-8068
  • SETXWeddings@gmail.com

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