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Peace and Remembrance on this Patriot Day

New York City – Thirteen years ago today I was standing in Secaucus, New Jersey in a building directly across the harbor from the World Trade Centers.

Memories of that day are sometimes crystal clear, sometimes splintered.

The day before, my colleagues and I talked about how lucky we were to look out at the panoramic view of the New York skyline with the Twin Towers so prominent and powerful in stature.

It was as if you could reach out and touch them.

The events of September 11 will forever remain a catalyst in my life and that of my children. My respect for the first responder community and the people of New York City, this country – unfaltering.

We watched as the horror unfolded before our eyes, trying to absorb what we were seeing, a group of complete strangers, forever bound.

As the second plane, United Flight 175 shadowed the windows, flying much too low, too close to be mistaken for anything else, we didn’t even have time to brace. A colleague put his body in front of mine, hoping to shield me from the window, of what would come next.

As we watched the strike, as reports came in, as fighter jets buzzed the roof we knew two things – many innocent people, many colleagues weren’t going home. Our lives would never be the same.

Just a few days earlier, I stood outside the World Trade Center with a group of people from around the country, many whom had never been outside their hometowns, much less to NYC.

A few friends and I dragged them onto the subway, encouraged them to buy watches on the street and insisted we take their pictures on Wall Street. We zipped them over to Ellis Island, then planted ourselves at the Pier and indulged in buckets of Margaritas.

Some of my favorite pictures are from that weekend with the towers looming in the background.

Some of my worst, in their box and in my mind, are from the days following.

Peace to you all. Cherish each and every moment with those you love and those who love you.

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