Monday, September 11, 2006

Never Forget.... ALWAYS Remember the 2,996

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*Many thanks to Dale for making The 2,996 Project more than just a great idea- you made it reality.*

It was a normal day all over America. I was running a little late- as usual (hey- I said it was a normal day, didn't I?), and dropped Kevin off at the babysitter's house just before 9am. Jennifer was watching "Good Morning America", and as I ran out the door, I paused to look at the smoking tower on tv. Smoke was pouring out of a skyscraper in New York, and the newscaster was saying something about a commuter plane hitting the World Trade Center. I jokingly said, "How ironic- it's September 11- get it? 9-11, and there's a HUGE emergency in New York. Scary... OK, I gotta jet. See you later!", and I left.

In New York, I'm sure the morning was going about the same for many people. Some running late, dropping off kids at school and the babysitter's, grumbling over the breakfast mess left in the kitchen, thinking about the sales calls later in the day, and so many other "normal" things. Normal was redefined before noon that day. Normal wasn't so "normal" anymore.

Somewhere in Manhattan, a young trader for Cantor Fitzgerald got ready for another day at work. He slipped on his size 16 shoes and headed for the North Tower. His name... Davin Peterson. He was only 25 years old, funny, outgoing, loved to travel, and at 6'6", bigger than life. He prided himself on being the first one in, and the last one out every day. But today, September 11, 2001- he wouldn't ever leave work again. This day, 9-11-01, was his day to die.

After I got in the car and was listening to the radio on my way to my first appointment of the day, I heard the news. A second plane hit the other tower. I knew. Right away- I knew. This was no 'accident', and my mind wandered to concerns for national security. I wondered if planes were being grounded, or "escorted" by US fighters. I wondered if this was the end, or if there would be additional attacks. I wondered if my client knew, or if I was going to be the one to break the news.

When I arrived at her office, I found the workers and students gathered around the big screen tv in the lobby (I was at the University of Cincinnati that day). There they were, 5 feet tall, smoking, flaming, right in front of me. We were all in shock. We tried to focus on our meeting, but then *it* happened: the first Tower fell. We cried. We gasped, and we moaned. The meeting- long forgotten- we were glued to the screen.

I imagine Davin, at work, preparing for the US markets to open. He took the elevator upstairs, and in my mind, he grabs a soda from the vending machine in lieu of coffee, and heads to his desk. He reads international market news on his favorite websites and flips through his favorite publication, The Economist. Others start filing in, casually offering up a "Hey Davin" as they passed his desk.

At approximately 0846, the terrorists aboard United Flight 11 slammed the Boeing 767 into the North Tower. Cantor Fitzgerald employees scrambled for safety, but hardly any made it out of the building. Davin died with 684 co-workers. I wonder about his last minutes- I wonder if he was cracking one of his infamous jokes, or telling everyone how he was going to make fajitas again for Thanksgiving this year instead of the traditional turkey. I wonder if he saw anyone jumping out of the windows, rather than stay in the burning building. I wonder if he knew what was coming.
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The remains of the North Tower, on September 13, 2001.
Most of all, I wonder if he knows how much he is missed by his family and friends. I hope you know, Davin, that we are all outraged by the events on 9/11, and have vowed to avenge your deaths by destroying governments who harbor and fund terrorists. As tragic as your death was, Davin, it was not in vain. We are at war, and we will win. Just you wait and see, hon. We will not let your death go unnoticed or unpunished. We will not forget.

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Davin Peterson, age 25


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