9/11: The One Day that Changed My Life

by on March 8th, 2015
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Yahoo! is asking Americans how September 11 changed them. Below is an account from a reader.

It would be nice if I had more hours in my day. I am a student, a columnist, an entrepreneur and a full-time employee who manages to spend time with family and friends and volunteer.

I haven’t always been this busy or this focused. I spent many years going to parties, shopping, and doing whatever it was that seemed like “fun” at the time. Unexpectedly, my life changed in a way that I couldn’t have predicted and the catalyst for this change happened 10 years ago.

On September 11, 2001, I was living in Manassas, Virginia. I loved the area because I was close to Washington, D.C., but not close enough to deal with beltway traffic.

That morning, I went to work in Tyson’s Corner, where I was an opening manager for a mall retailer. The morning crew consisted of another manager and several others. As we hurried through merchandising chores and operational duties, our pace came to an abrupt halt when we heard an announcer on the radio in our stockroom. He reported that a plane crashed into one of the Twin Towers.

We all gathered around the radio and stood silently before trying to contact our loved ones. I couldn’t help but think about those who were dying, those who were fighting for their lives, and those who were trying to save the lives of others. Then the phone call came. Our district manager told us not to open the store and to get out as fast as we could because a plane had struck the Pentagon, which was in close proximity. This is the day that changed my life forever.

After contacting family members to assure them that I was safe, I realized that my priorities were emphasizing things that really didn’t matter. I realized that I wasn’t appreciative of some of life’s greatest treasures, which are things that money can’t buy: family, friends, time, unconditional love, health, a relationship with my Lord and Savior.

Today, my schedule is hectic, I have a new perspective and my life has taken a new meaning. My life is no longer about me, but is now about enriching the lives of others, whether it be helping a stranger or assisting someone in my circle. I have learned that my life has a purpose and that is more about service to others and less about me.

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