Wreath-laying ceremony near the site of the crash of Flight 93 on the first anniversary of its hijacking. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I’ve started and restarted this post so many times. I think it would be hard to find anyone over the age of 16 or so here in the United States that would say that they weren’t affected by the September 11th attacks. Everyone remembers where they were, and everyone has a story. You would think that someone who loves to tell stories would be able to tell theirs. But I rarely do.
I grew-up in Somerset County, about 20 minutes from where Flight 93 came to rest. I knew a few of the first responders and a coworker lived in the debris field. I knew a lot of the television videographers and reports that spent weeks at the media camp near the crash site. My husband was one of them. So was one of our groomsmen, the reporter who helped get us together, and more friends than I care to count.
This is where, even after all this time, I can’t find the right words to tell the story. There are things that people behind the cameras see and share with those they trust that the rest of the world will never know. It changes how we see the world and how we’re affected by events like 9/11. Men and women who do their best to carry on as professionals while witnessing so much heartbreak and fear. And still, no matter how hard I try I can’t find a way to describe what it was like without it immediately becoming raw, and the feeling that it’s not entirely my story to tell.
I know it doesn’t compare to the pain of those who lost loved ones. Or the trauma experienced by survivors and first responders. But, it is very real. It happened and it was hard for the people who went through it and their families.
It’s still hard to talk about in many ways. That’s why, after all this time, I still can’t find the right words.
I come from a long line of steel mill workers, assemblers, miners and other manners of true blue collars. Generation after generation working their way through the ranks at the unions. A few became “White Hats” (supervisors) along the way. These were men and women who worked hard their whole lives. Most of them didn’t finish high school — they dropped out help support their families. They were and are tough. I cannot be prouder to continue their legacy.
Labor Day has become about the end of summer. About parties, and pools and picnics. It used to be a little more about the men and women whose blood and sweat literary built the United States. The people who died in dangerous jobs to create a better world. To remember and honor those who fought for safer work environments and to establish the laws we take for granted today.
This Labor Day I want to thank the people out there doing the tough jobs I couldn’t do. Thank you to the people fighting for workplace safety and equality and making sure the laws are followed. Thank you to anyone whoever put in a hard days work on the production line, or down in the pit, and thought that what you did didn’t matter. . .
You see, it did matter. Because if it weren’t for my mom and dad, and my aunts and uncles, and my grandmothers grandfathers, and my great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers who worked those same lines I wouldn’t have been able to go to college. I wouldn’t have been able to learn video production or to tell stories the way I do.
Thank you to everyone who helped build the United States of America figuratively and literally.
I’ve stayed out politics, but I have to say this. Congratulations to all of those who ran. It was a hard-fought battle and you have made the democratic process stronger by bringing your ideas and engaging in meaningful discussions – you should be proud.
The election is over and we need to move on. If your candidate didn’t win don’t sit back and complain for the next 4 years. Get out there and make a difference! Call your elected officials and tell them where you stand on issues. Get informed on the issues from the source and not the media (social or otherwise) and let your representatives know how you feel. Support organizations that believe what you believe in. Create an organization to bring the change you wanted to see in your community. It can start with you.
If you candidate won don’t sit back and cheer for the next 4 years. Get out there and make a difference! Call your elected officials and tell them where you stand on issues. Get informed on the issues from the source and not the media (social or otherwise) and let your representatives know how you feel. Support organizations that believe what you believe in. Create an organization to bring the change you wanted to see in your community. It can start with you.
Like it or not we are all in this together. Democracy is not a spectator sports my friends. Get involved and stay involved. Bitching on Facebook or Twitter doesn’t bring change in red or blue states. Working together brings change to the UNITED STATES.
In case you were sleeping under a rock, the largest jackpot in world history was split three ways on Friday. Lottery fever griped the nation and people everywhere dreamed of what they would do with a spare $500 Million lying around the house. I admit we caught the fever at our house too.
I'd look like this if I won $150+ million.
I nervously checked the numbers Saturday and discovered that we won! I’m laying low right now because I’m a little worried about the press attention when I go to pick up my $2. No, I didn’t win life changing money. I didn’t even break-even. A girl can dream can’t she?
Which is the source for this week’s challenge: What would you do with a cash payout of in the neighborhood of $158 Million ? Go ahead. Dream big. We all did. Look at this as starting to plan for when you really do hit the big money.
What about me? Well my winnings would look a little like this…..
First calls would be to lawyers and financial planners who would have to sign an non-disclosure agreement. We’d try to carry on like any other day(s) while everything gets put into place. Plans include setting up trusts for various for our daughters and other close family members. A charitable foundation would be established to handle requests for money and to help us raise money for causes close to our hearts. (The goal would be make sure that we don’t just give money away, but ensure that people use the money to establish a better future and then pay it forward by helping others.) There would be a lot of investing because I want winning to be a blessing and not a curse – I want to make sure that we never have to worry about another bill ( and neither do our kids or eventual grand kids).
What about the fun stuff? Oh there would be plenty of that too…a new car (or two), building our dream house, a couple of dream vacations and getaways for the whole family. I’d finally establish the video production company I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid, only now we would focus on making great videos and PSAs for non-profits that have a hard time paying for videos that would make huge difference in fundraising. Maybe even set-up a video artist retreat somewhere.
Between the foundation and the production company my husband (a 18+ year TV news veteran) would stay as busy as we wanted, without having to stress. We could watch our kids grow. Know that our nieces and nephews were going to be able to get the kind of education they want, and make life easier for a lot of people. Then we really would be living the dream…
Ok. Your turn. What would you do if they handed you that over-sized check? As always, make sure your story abides by the ground rules. Now…