This is the first public writing I have done about the way the September 11 attacks on the US and specifically the Twin Towers have affected me. I remember where I was when I heard the news, much like my parents remember the moment they heard JFK was assassinated. The events that unfolded that day, and in the weeks that followed changed my life and the lives of millions forever.

I had just moved from Arizona to Florida and was finishing my first week as controller of a printing facility. It was the monthly review with the CEO and CFO, as all as a few other senior managers. We had taken a break and I flipped up the antenna on my Palm to download the news. As the words OH MY GOD escaped my lips, our HR manager wheeled in a TV. We sat in awe as we watched the news events unfold. I was especially unsettled as my then wife had worked on the top floor of one tower and my sister-in-law had worked on the 92nd floor of the other. While both of them had not been in the building for years, we all still had friends and family in those buildings.

Slowly news of loved ones poured in and we counted off who we had heard from. We were grateful to hear one friend missed her train that day and worked from home. Another stopped for coffee, something he never did, and wasn’t yet at the office. We had two people unaccounted for, Farrah who was a coworker and friend and guest at my wedding, and Rob who was a firefighter and early responder.

The days began to pass with no word on either. It was the good news that came first. Rob was seen on TV being carried off of the rubble, alive but slightly injured. That as a sigh of relief. His injury was minor though his contribution was major and he was and is a great man for that. Unfortunately, the bad news came right after.

My ex wife was a stay at home mom, and followed the news closely. I believe it was a week or a btt more after the attacks when news crews started to interview the families that hasn’t heard from loved ones. The camera panned to a board with photos of missing people, and standing out among them all, plain to see, was Farrah’s photo. We knew then she was no longer with us. A wonderful young woman, who was a great friend, and someone who I danced with at my wedding, was gone. We were devastated.

Years have gone by, and I often think about Farrah. What would she be doing now, how would her life been. There are songs written about it as well, for all of the fallen. A lot of people lost friends, family, and loved ones that day. More people were affected by this tragedy than I care to think about. Today, remembering these people, my heart and thoughts go out to each and every survivor and person who was affected that day.

I am sure a lot of blogs were written about this topic. A good friend, Lisa has posted her thoughts today as well. You can see them at and I encourage you to do so.  Please comment below, and on Lisa’s page if you can.


(PS, this was written on my phone inbetween a full day of meetings.  please excuse any typos or other errors!)

(PPS, liked Kirsten’s post at so added it!

Possibly related:


This entry was posted on Thursday, September 11th, 2008 at 8:31 am and is filed under Life Lesson. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

8 Comments so far

  1. Lisa on September 11, 2008 12:44 pm


    Thank you for sharing and remembering 9/11. We never think that we can be hurt but when an event like this occurs it makes such an impact. The fear, the loss and the tragedy no one was prepared for.

    Having everyone share their memories is a nice way to connect and continue remembering that what happened to all of us is not something to forget.

  2. Jenn Givler on September 11, 2008 12:47 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. I will never forget that day. Today, our weather in PA is a lot like the weather it was then.

    I remember being shocked and numb. They let us go early from work (I still worked a corporate job), and I remember coming home and being G-L-U-E-D to the TV.

    I was 7 months pregnant and after the shock wore off, I was just absolutely terrified about the world that my daughter was going to be born into – what would it look like?

    I remember how they grounded planes for what seemed like eternity – and when they lifted the air ban, I actually would wince every time I heard a plane in the sky.

    It’s amazing though, how the events brought us all together and I think on a deep level made us realize how connected we all really are. And every year, on the anniversary, that’s what I like to remember – that connection.

  3. Lisa M on September 11, 2008 2:12 pm

    Matt, big hugs going out your way. How extremely tragic:-(

  4. @CoachDeb on September 11, 2008 10:49 pm

    Here’s to Farrah & may God Bless her family who was left behind…

    I was at the gym that day preparing to go to a hospital to do a presentation on team building when I heard the news.

    Being from the Jersey / NYC area, we learn to ‘deal with things” and to forge forward in your day. Afterall, we had been attacked before in the early 90’s when they bombed the car park of the World Trade Towers.

    But then… the trade towers came down, and life forever changed for all New Yorkers and all Americans.

    That day was amazing to watch all Americans pull together, help each other cross the bridge by foot to get home, rides given to complete strangers – all in the effort to get back to their loved ones.

    I was glued to my TV looking for my cousin, my mother-in-law or any face of a friend I’d recognize.

    My close relatives were all ok. My cousin missed her train into the city that day b/c she kept “forgetting” something else on her walk to the train. Thank you God for fogging up her memory that day.

    But the days and weeks and months that followed, reports of yet another memorial service came in from friends I said goodbye to back east when I moved to Hawaii on Oct 1st to start a new life.

    I tell you – as many people who warned me of the dangers living in Hawaii before 9/11 were just as many who wanted to follow me here after that event that shook our lives forever.

    Thanks for sharing your story & this post.

    Keep up your great blog! I love connecting with you on Twitter.

  5. Friday funk on September 12, 2008 10:17 am

    [...] suggested the anxiety possibility to myself. It’s not as if it shocked me.  Reading stories of 9/11, stress of a filthy home, news that my husband will not be home for at least two more weeks, on and [...]

  6. Matthew H on September 12, 2008 1:40 pm

    Thank you everyone! I appreciate your comments. I am sure more people were impacted than I’ll ever imagine, and ever be able to reach with this post. I am just glad I was able to reach a few!

    I just came across this post from @kirstenwright which is a song I love. Thanks Kirsten!

  7. To Think Is To Create on October 7, 2008 2:57 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. On 9/11 this year I asked the question on Twitter, “where were you when…?” and posted some of the responses. It was so moving to see the replies flow in, from people around the world, about where they were when the they found out.

    You can read it here:


  8. Friday funk | mamikaze on August 12, 2009 5:17 pm

    [...] suggested the anxiety possibility to myself. It’s not as if it shocked me.  Reading stories of 9/11, stress of a filthy home, news that my husband will not be home for at least two more weeks, on and [...]

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      Spawned out of my love for Twitter and talk, I've decided to create a blog. This is the chance to allow the voices in my head to speak. I have thoughts on wine, music, cigars, life, death, work, and everything in between. Here is where I'll share those with you.

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