Update: September 11, 2013
Can it be
13 12 years? I cannot fathom the passing of so much time, but time does march on, doesn’t it? I decided to re-post this entry to honor the families of the American Express victims, as well as all who suffered losses unimaginable.
For me, September often makes for a rough landing.
There is the heartbreaking reminder of 9/11; today being one of the most poignant reminders due to the passage of ten years.
It hardly seems possible that 10 years have passed. The memories are so vivid it seems like it was yesterday our world was shattered.
September is also the month we see an increased number of hurricanes here in South Florida.
And, September is my birthday month, which I won’t talk about, even though I just did. Getting older means I have to remember a new number (I often forget how old I am).
September 11, 2001
It was a Tuesday.
Monday night I stayed very late at work. It was already September 11th (after midnight) when I left work at the American Express Service Center building in Plantation, Florida.
I was working late with Wayne, an Instructional Design colleague of mine in Operations Training, at American Express. Wayne and I were putting the finishing touches on our Diversity Appreciation Display, which was to be situated in the huge open atrium space, at the center of the building. (Note about Diversity at American Express: The company didn’t just “talk” about the importance of diversity, it “walked the walk” in a way that I have yet to see in any other company I’ve since worked for. They supported diverse employee networks; WIN (Women’s Industry Network, BEN (Black Employee Network), SALT & CHAI (Christian and Jewish employee networks), and quite a few more.)
Every year, the Diversity Team would dedicate one week to spotlight the importance of diversity at American Express. The 2001 event, however, was going to be a scaled down version of our usual diversity celebration.
This year we were going to have four smaller events (not one big yearly event). The four small events were to focus on different sections of the globe, and the impact that American Express had on that part of the world.
The kick-off of our celebration of the Middle East region of the globe was slated to open at 11:00 a.m., on the morning of September 11, 2001.
Because I had worked so late the night before, ensuring that everything was ready for our Middle Eastern celebration, I did not plan on getting to work until 10:00 a.m.
At about 9:00 a.m. that morning, Wayne called my home and I could tell something was very wrong, but I didn’t know what. He asked if we were going to cancel our celebration. I didn’t understand what he meant – what he was talking about. Then he asked if I had television or radio on. I didn’t. “Turn the TV on,” he urged. I did.
The first plane had just hit and I watched the aftermath. I knew American Express had a huge office in NYC, with thousands of employees. I wasn’t certain if our Headquarters was located in one or both of the World Trade Center buildings. Later I realized that the American Express building was a building adjacent to the towers, and every employee was accounted for. Sadly, that turned out not to be true.
Although the American Express building stood very near the towers, it suffered damages that looked like bite marks in the side of the building, resulting from the explosions. The building was structurally sound and could be saved.
When the first plane hit, a few American Express employees were out in the street, just getting to work and suffered serious injuries as a result of the falling debris. These employees nearly lost their lives, but by the grace of God, survived.
There were American Express employees in one of the towers.
September 11, 2001 is seared in my memory. I will never forget how I felt, where I was, or how so many of us cried together as we saw the second plane hit.
The American Express company, which I worked for nearly seven years, handled the horrendous event and aftermath with incredible class. They have done such a good job to remember the employees who were victims.
Pictured below is the stunning tribute that stands in the lobby of the Headquarters building. I have never seen it, but have read the countless comments describing how remarkable it is. The architect’s name is Ken Smith.
Here are additional photos of the memorial. http://www.flickr.com/photos/rejuvesite/sets/72157603291655578/
I was not able to find pictures of all the eleven victims, instead I used a picture of their memorial stone.
I would have loved to include all the victims who died that day. Instead, I am honoring the 11 employees who perished that day, as well as the family members they left behind.
There were more than 4,000 American Express employees working at the corporate headquarters in NYC, these 11 worked for the American Express Corporate Travel office, located on the 94th floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower.
The Eleven Tears – American Express Employees:
- Paul Zois
- Sigrid Wiswe
- Lorretta Vero
- Benito Valentin
- Karen Renda
- Anne Ransom
- Lisa Kearney-Griffin
- Bridget Esposito
- Lucy Crifasi
- Gennady Boyarsky
- Yvonne Bonomo
The Diversity celebration that was to start on September 11, 2011, was not “celebrated.” We kept a movie that the created, available for employees, and some photos were left up, that was about it.
It was too emotionally draining to think about a celebration. But, we also didn’t want to discount what we’d planned – it was hardly a celebration of a culture.
We knew the terrorists were of Middle Eastern descent, as were some of our employees. We could not very well show any distaste for that part of the world – that was not a reasonable thing to do, obviously. In the end, it didn’t matter, the sadness and our mourning was not about hating a counrty of people, it was about trying to understand how a small group of human beings could / would attack us as they did.
I think every American felt like they were collectively kicked behind the knees that day. It’s difficult to get up from the floor, though we will and we have.
Another Monday is here and gone and I am just now sitting down to write!
I’ve been sitting at this computer all night, though not blogging. Instead I’ve been researching how to build a website on Joomla, which is an Open Source Content Management System (CMS).
A CMS is the back-end of a website. I am learning about what “hosting” means, and trying to decide if I want to pay someone to design a site for me, or if I want to try to build it myself. Joomla allows you to create a site, or customize one of its templates, so I thought I’d give it a try…. I watched an instructional video tonight and tried it. But, I did something wrong, not sure what I did, but my site disappeared! I have a blank canvas.
But, it’s okay, I’ll figure it out tomorrow!
I’ve toyed with the idea of starting my own company for a while now; and today the perfect idea came to me! create eLearning – something I love to do! My company (consisting of only me at first), will create Rapid eLearning solutions for companies who outsource their training and development design, or just need an outside consultant to assist them.
I began to set up my website tonight, and clearly I have absolutely NO idea what I am doing – it’s a bit complicated, but not impossible to master.
I do, however, have a company name: It’s called e-Rapidly.com. The name has to do with Rapid Instructional Design and eLearning.
In today’s business environment, which is full of rapid and constant change, CEO’s need what they need NOW! And when they need training, it’s all about how rapidly the training professional can deliver it. Today it’s literally all about creating rapid eLearning solutions. Everything is rapid design and rapid development. Rapid this and rapid that, especially when it comes to eLearning. There are hundreds of books on the subject of RAPID training and development. Literally everything related to eLearning these days has “Rapid” in the title.
So it’s e-Rapidly.com. I really like the name!
I believe it’s a domain name that will be kind of catchy and easy to remember, plus it’s reflective of the business and of what I will deliver in my new “Rapid eLearning” business.
It will be nice to work for my own company!
It may take a while to get e-Rapidly.com from the dream to the reality phase. That’s okay though. I’m a quick learner!
As a writer, I am constantly humbled by the depth of thought and experience that my Casey Anthony case readers/bloggers share here. Frankly, some of the writing blows me away because I see such talent – talent that I only dream will one day show up in my own writing (I have only been blogging for a few months an have much to learn). I hope that as I become a more experienced blogger, what is inside my head will make it to the page with increased depth of thought and with passionate clarity. Thank you for coming along with me on this journey of mine.
I would love nothing more than to make this blog my full-time job….lately I’ve been dreaming about doing just that – but I’m only dreamin’ for now. Someday. Maybe.
I have a full time job that is pressure-filled. I write and teach for a living. The technical term for what I do is called “Instructional Design” which means I analyze what Learners need to learn and I put it down on paper for trainers to use to train others in a classroom setting. I develope elearning, too – it’s my favorite venue. Most of the work I do involves writing for a classroom setting. However, in my job, I am also the trainer. What I write, I also train. It’s two jobs in one.
I have been an Instructional Designer for over ten years now, prior to that, I worked as an actor (that’s another story for another day). I loved working as an actor and miss it terribly but I couldn’t keep up with the bills with any consistency (some months the pay was plentiful, other months not so much). I miss the theatre terribly, but I’m on stage in the classroom, too. So it’s all good.
I currently work in a university setting. The people I train are university employees who need to learn new systems, new procedures, etc. On Monday, I am training new employees “New Hires” we call them. I’ll be in the classroom with them for three weeks.
So, right now (write now!) I don’t have the time to police this blog and I never dreamed that I’d have to. But, when people are disrespectful to my readers, insulting their intelligence, demeaning their efforts to express themselves, then I have to take action and I did last evening. I was forced to ban a person from continuing to write here. I gave this person fair warning, but they wouldn’t stop blasting away at the people I admire – my friends who post here.
I am told this person also uses other email alias’s to post and disturb others. Please accept my apologies if this happens, I will do my best to monitor this situation during the day.
So, what’s this post all about, you may be asking! Well, it’s about writing and blogging, and training myself as as writer, using this blog as my laboratory. I am passionate about the law and justice and would like to follow every missing person case in the news, write about all the injustices that I see such as the great horror we’re experiencing right now with the oil spill… I wonder if words can really express the enormity of what the environment is ultimately facing via this travesty in our glorious sea? The wildlife that will be destroyed is too much for me to think about because when I do think about it, I want to scream in anger and rage against BP. All I can really do is drive right by their Gas Station when I need gas. That’s my punishment. But, then I think – well that won’t work, really, BP needs to keep working and earning money to fix this mess they caused. And THEY caused it. Haliburtin and others have blame, don’t get me wrong, but BP’s name is blazed on the brand that makes the money, so I hold them accountable.
I’m all over the place here! Let me close this by telling you how in awe I am of your writing – I am talking to the people who write here.
After reading what you share here, I find my self constantly saying: “Oh, I want to write like that!”
You have taught me so much and I thank you for investing your time here. And, you know, judging by the consistent rise in readership here (I see the stats and more people are visiting every day), it’s not just me they are coming to read, it’s you. So, thank you for what you give.
Thanks for putting up with the occasional mean commentator. I won’t let them come here and destroy the good camaraderie that we have built and that we enjoy here.
I love blogging…. If I could afford to, this would be my full time job…. Maybe that will happen one day!
Dreams do come true every now and again.
Thank you again.