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911 A Decade Later

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9/11 Publisher’s Personal Perspective: one reason I continue chARTing. There are more profitable ways to use communications experience and skills, but the driving force behind chART is the desire to encourage and promote creative expresssion and community. Each of us has internal reasons for our choices in life. 9/11 helped to solidify my own, like many of us.

Sept. 17, 2001  e mail to friends saved in my journal

Return from Rome

“I MAY BE IN ROME, BUT MY HEART IS AT HOME,” said the handwritten sign topping the mound of flowers on the lawn of the American Embassy in Rome. I stayed the last few days at the Westin Excelsior next door among foreign dignitaries, international secret service men and lots of machine guns. We were on the floor of Middle Eastern leaders all connected with 10-inch cables going into all the rooms and each with a personal guard at the door.

I flew out to meet 52 people on the WFTV client trip last Sunday from Orlando to Newark to Rome to Porto Cervo in Sardenia. Monday poolside at the Hotel Cervo, 3pm Italian time / 10am N.Y. time, we learned of the terrible terrorism tragedy involving in part an airport we had flown out of a day prior. The shock and the mourning were compounded with homesickness and concern for our safe return to our families.  Since there were no flights out anyway, we somberly continued with our itinerary.

Mid-week we flew to Rome as planned. Friday at noon Rome called for three minutes of silence in honor of the American loss. Noon found me at the exact center of the Pantheon learning of the open-air top and the drain below in the temple. Powerful moment. As people prayed for America in languages from across the globe, if you ever doubted there was a God, you felt His presence in this ancient place of worship at this time in history.

Yesterday Continental flew us to the U.S. No flight attendants or Diet Cokes, but pilots and security guys with guns. Fine. The gruesome sight of the smoking abyss in the NYC skyline as we departed the plane in Newark to Orlando International began our reality of returning home.

I’m tired. I’m home. I’m still moving tomorrow to the new house.

I love America. Be strong. Leave your investments in place as we open the exchange today.

Casey

“’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

Sept. 2, 2002, a personal journal entry

As I reflect back upon my last year since 9/11, the things I have loved have been plentiful and the things I have lost few.

That week, Carter saw me cry as I unpacked our new kitchen and he watched the Star Spangled Banner song to open a Gator game on TV. He rushed over to hug me with “Mom, are you ok? I’ve never seen you cry.”

I told him, “I am saddened because you will never experience in the same way the America I have loved.”

I have loved my 9-year-old Katelyn and 11-year-old Carter. I have reached age __ in its glory and maturity and wisdom and maintained some of (lots of) my youthfulness along the way; I have loved that I still enjoy life. Everyday. I have loved my friends and family and the experiences I have shared with them. I have loved that I appreciate the profound enlightenment I often experience in the daily exchanges. I have loved the abundance received by my advertising agency as my clients sought consulting for staying competitive in a challenging market. I have loved that my contribution in all of these relationships makes a difference in the world in some small way.

Have lost. What I have lost on a Friday a year ago, at the center of the Pantheon in Rome at noon during a three minute period of silence where tour groups from every continent prayed for America, was myself as I had known me. At that moment, I was not sure I would get home. I have lost my naive sense of protection and security. I have lost the notion that freedom comes without a cost or without work. I have lost the belief that Good overcomes Evil simply because Good exists. I have lost any desire to be one hair less than the character that would fulfill my purpose or to surround myself with anything or anyone that is contrary to my core beliefs or values.

I shared Life cereal this morning with my 9 and 11-year-olds. And the day began. My life. This afternoon we will list 911 things we are thankful for today. We will deliver the hand drawn cards thanking the Winter Park fire and police departments for protecting us. We will rejoice in God’s protection over us this past year.

9/11/11 A Decade After Doom , a personal journal entry

The house I moved into the week after 9/11 is long unpacked, lived in, paid for, and recently redecorated as children went to college. As I packed my daughter’s room, with stacks of sketches and drawings, I ran across the pencil sketches of Dalmatians in fireman hats with buildings with smoke and stick people in the skies. It captures a chilling memory for our children and our culture.

I watched on TV the news clips I didn’t see ten years ago because I was overseas and saw only CNN. I’ve continued my life and have stamped over a dozen countries on my passport since 9/11. I’m not afraid to travel or fly. I’m more determined through experiencing that day to continue to have a productive stellar life, continue to learn about other cultures, and live in and contribute to a country that is a world leader in every way.

Besides the World Trade Center, the other edifice for me that defines 9/11 is the Pantheon because of the spiritual moment there. My directive as a professional communicator to create Good Works has been the focus of my last decade. As part of that undertaking, chART is in the middle of production of the 26th issue reporting on charities and creativity. It’s 4am and I’m up with a brainstorm and polishing this issue for press. Next week I return to the other projects to unfold this year and am particularly inspired by the current novel in progress as part of my Life’s Work.

For the last 30 days I’ve worn the cross necklace I bought at the Vatican two days after 9/11. It reminded me each morning to love God, love America, love my life and all the people in it.

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