My life before and after 9-11

Disclaimer: If you don’t want to read anything else about 9-11 or religion since having it SHOVED down your throat by media, then stop reading here.

One of the more difficult times of the year for me is 9-11. Ten years ago, I made it to a television screen in time to see a friend die.

I heard the whispers of what was going on in New York City that beautiful Tuesday morning, and my brain just didn’t seem to want to accept it.

“No way this is happening,” my brain kept saying over and over again.

But when I walked into what was then called Flagship Bank and looked up at the television which was showing CNN it hit me like four tons of bricks.

Not just a ton.

Four tons.

I walked into the branch just in time to see the south tower collapse. It was seriously like receiving a left hook to the body by Edwin Rodriguez.


I don’t know how, but I knew it the instant that building went down that Mike was in there.


I was baptized on my birthday in 2000 into a reformed baptist church.

I was into it. Well-liked by the members, close to the pastor and deacons. Etcetera.

This day shattered my beliefs and thoughts.

It hit me hard.

I spoke to the pastor, and he told me “This is all a part of God’s plan. It’s his will.”

I was stunned. I was hurt. “How,” I asked, “could God allow his people to be killed off like that? How can he sit there and let a person who was going in to save people just perish?”

“We don’t know how, or why,” he responded, “but it is his will and part of his plan.”

I walked away confused. I walked away hurt. I walked away pissed off. Most of all, though, I walked away.

I never again set foot inside that church.

People ask: “Are you a religious person?”

My answer: “I used to be.”


To the many who’ve suffered heartache since that Tuesday, 9-11 is just another day on the calendar.  No different than the 364 or 365 other days that run through the year. No matter what, their loved ones still aren’t around. No matter what, they will never see their loved ones again. That a nation can mourn once a year, that’s fine — and I am only speaking for myself here — and I thank you for your support this day. But for those that don’t need a specific day to mourn, for whomever you’ve lost, my heart is with you each and every day.

Time doesn’t stop. The days, months and years keep coming and going. Before you know it, 9-11 will again be on the calendar. For the more than 2,900 that lost someone that day, it’ll be just another day on the calendar — no more, no less. The painful memories happen every day, I am sure.

For me, they happen every day, but always become more vivid on 9-11 — and, I am not entirely sure why.

March 15, 2002, I went to Mike’s funeral. As of that day, I cannot listen to bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace” without losing it. It happened again last night. On television, before the Cowboys-Jets football game, the pipe and drum corps played it, and tears streamed down my face.  If I hadn’t cried for most of the morning, I probably would’ve cried again that very moment.

I’ll leave you with something Mike told me :

“Always look to where you’re moving; forward. If you’re moving forward and looking back, you’re going to miss a lot.”

— JB


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