Life changed that day. When everything normal and stable changes, we need a new normal.

Life Changed that Day

Early on the morning of September 11, 2001 my husband called me on the drive into his Dallas office.

“Have you heard the news this morning?”

News! I hadn’t even had my first cup of coffee yet!

But as he began to tell me about a plane that had just hit one of the Towers in NYC, I moved slowly toward the TV. Memories from that point on are kind of blurry and in slow motion, as those of you who remember that horrible day can likely relate to. Just as the TV image was coming into view Mike was saying, Wait! Wait! Another plane just hit the other tower! And as images of black, billowing smoke and fire and falling buildings came into view I remember saying, very slowly, as if each word needed extra processing…

“This… doesn’t… sound…like… an… accident.”

I remember the feel of the chaos in the air. News anchors were speculating about the possibilities of what was happening, technology in all of its forms had live video streaming all over the country…all over the world…of the unfolding horror, and within minutes we were hearing that the Pentagon had been hit by another plane… and then another plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Announcements came that all planes were being grounded and no flights would be going in or out of any airports in the United States. Texts and voice messages that had been received by loved ones of those trapped in the towers, or on board the planes, were released to the media and our worst fears were confirmed. America was under attack.

Like many of you that day, I was horrified. In shock and disbelief. Afraid for my family because of not knowing what was coming next. Unable to think clearly. Terrified for the employees at my husband’s company who were working in NYC at the Twin Towers that day. And generally just wanting to gather all my chicks together under my wings and hold them tightly.

What happens when everything that seems normal and stable changes? Life changed that day. We looked at each other differently. And then... #September11 Click To Tweet

When everything that seems normal and stable changes, we need a new normal. Do you remember the unity in those weeks and months after 9/11? Do you remember looking at those around you differently? Being looked at differently? With more acceptance? It was as if we all had a knowing that life was different. Solidarity came from the tragedy that affected us all that day. Left, right, black, white, we were all just people. Americans. “For” each other. “With” each other.

And then we weren’t.

Today I am thinking that perhaps the greatest gift to give to those who lost so much that day is our love, our acceptance, and our forgiveness. We are all human. Different, yet the same in our divine creation. For that I am truly grateful. To God. For you. So when I see you and smile, and look you in the eye, know that I am acknowledging my respect for our freedom to be human and different…together.

Freedom. What does that look like in the days following #September11th? Click To Tweet

Brenda Harkins mines the gold in people to help them clearly see their talent, identify their purpose and unleash potential to navigate their unique success. Brenda is a Life and Leadership Coach in her own organization, as well as with The John Maxwell Team and CoreClarity. She is a Public Speaker, Author, Mediator, Entrepreneur, and President of The Harkins Group, Inc. You can connect with Brenda at or find out more at