9/11 Memories & COVID Reflections


It's interesting how so many of us can remember exactly where we were, who we were with and what we were doing the morning of 9/11.

I was a teacher at the elementary school. A 4th year Phys Ed teacher.

I was in the library that morning and the librarian always had AM radio news on as she organized books. I walked in just before 9 AM and she started telling me how there was an accident and the news reporters were confused, so they thought 2 planes had crashed over NYC.

An hour later, my principal set up a small TV in the closet on one side of the gym. I was walking down the hallway and saw a few teachers gathered in front of the TV. It was the replay of the planes crashing into the towers. It was surreal to say the least.

By lunch time, 75% of our students were picked up by their parents.

Living in Edison and working in Edison, we were a short 35 minute drive to NYC.

You could see the NYC skyline from certain points in Edison and that cloud of smoke was something you saw but could NOT believe. That cloud was in the sky for 3 weeks.

The days after, I saw so much TOGETHERNESS it was amazing. People were nicer to one another. People were respectful to cops. I remember people actually looked at me differently because I had a buzz hair cut and they assumed I was a cop. People smiled at me and acted nicer than "normal" because they thought I was a cop.

Every car had an American flag on their windows the next day and for the weeks and months ahead. I never saw such togetherness in America. I had seen it in Israel during my travels to visit family and I now understood why. When you are attacked, if you don't come together, you fall apart.

That cloud lingered in the sky for 3 weeks. I would see the cloud every time I drove over a bridge near my house and it broke my heart every time. What was uplifting though, was how people were different. They were together. Kids stood on street corners waving American flags and cars were all honking. People waved and viewed our first responders with admiration and love.

There was a feeling of friendliness and "I got your back, you got mine". If you went out to a bar or restaurant and accidentally bumped into someone, you apologized and they smiled back at you and said "no problem", patting you on the back as if they were saying, "It's all good, we're in this together."

Then, I look at the now.

I look at how the country has changed with COVID. When the weather was nice and people started getting outside at the beginning of COVID, I recall how people walking down the sidewalk would ALWAYS have a sideways comment to say to my kids and I for riding bikes. These people acted like they OWNED the sidewalk.

They would put their arms out wide like they were saying "Stay away form me" yet they were walking side by side with someone else. In fact, MANY actually did shout at us, "6 feet! 6 feet!"

Was I nervous? Yes, absolutely. This was all unknown to me. But, did I act like an a--hole and shout at people? Did I act like I owned the town and could walk around telling people what to do? NO.

My son has been cursed at too many times by people when he rides his bike at a cross walk or next to the sidewalk. LOTS of tough guys curse at 12 yr old kids from their cars. Adults chase kids away from parks or playgrounds as if they are the police themselves.

Togetherness? I don't see it so much.

Respect for our first responders? Where is it?

Adults complaining about kids? YES, all over the place.

Since COVID, the small business owner has been viewed by many as a criminal. Gym owners, especially. Will your neighbor help you or talk behind your back? The government never stops telling you to hide, stay home, do not open your business, close down businesses, etc.

What about encouraging strength and health? Healthy eating and healthy habits? Those who share such truths get shut down on Facebook, YouTube, etc.

It is evident that to get to a good place in today's world, you must Govern Yourself. Yes. Handle your own business first.

Before we can come together, we need people to handle their own business first and stop telling others what NOT to do. COVID gave lazy people a great opportunity to avoid working yet run their mouth and tell others what to do.


No more.

Smiling at a stranger? Who knows? The mask is on.

Just bought something from a convenience store? The clerk won't touch your stuff and gently push it back to you anymore.

No, stretch across that table and get your own stuff. Home Depot? Thousands upon thousands of people touching things there, I see no problems.

Gym owners are viewed as criminals.

Adults curse at my kids when they ride their bikes.

Adults who don't know kids are out and about policing like they own the town, telling kids non stop....

Don't do this

Don't do that

Go elsewhere

What a world we live in now.

Togetherness is gone. You have to REALLY find the right people nowadays.

Keep your circle small and know who is on your side vs who will throw you under the business just to get ahead 1% for themselves.

There's a LOT of "Me" out there and now a whole lot of "We".

Find those who believe in "We".

Live The Code 365,


3 Responses

  1. James Keough says:

    Great post, and thanks for writing it! All of us (who are old enough) have a story in us about 911, and personally I don’t feel it was emphasized enough this year due to Covid. But just as we did then, we will get through this challenge and be stronger for it!

  2. Casey Tipton says:

    We’re all in this together whether people realize it right now or not. Everything has a way of balancing itself and how people treat each other on a daily basis will come back to bite them or reward them. Thanks Z

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