It's not often that the day I normally release a blog article is the same day as an important date in history. It's that day now, as it's the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the United States. Over 3,000 lives were lost on that day and many more over time to things no one knew or thought about at the time. New York City, Washington DC, and a small area called Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where a lot of brave souls on the plane gave their lives so that more people weren't killed anywhere else after hearing about the other attacks.

Tech Sergeant Mitchell

The last time I wrote about this event was in 2016 when I was inspired by someone on Facebook asking “Why do people keep bringing this up? Can’t we move away from it?”. If it was someone from another country "maybe" I could understand but it was someone from here, someone who was here when it happened and someone who was old enough to know better than to ask such a question.

Why should we forget about something like this? How can we forget something like this? How can we up and decide it's time to move on from something like this, especially when we saw it live?

I'm not going to give an account of what I started going through when I saw the 2nd plane hit the Twin Towers. I was awake when the first plane hit, but I hadn't turned the TV on so I initially had no idea what was going on. What I will say is that I felt compelled to hop in the car and drive to NYC to see if I could help. Wiser people than me made me come to my senses, but it shows the power of emotions and how they can make you have illogical thoughts and potentially do illogical things.

For me, in the aftermath of that day's tragedy was hearing all the stories about people who stepped up into leadership roles and helped others, whether they were in leadership positions or not. Some people gave their lives helping others get out of the tower. Some people later gave their lives by helping people find their way out of the Wall Street area. Some who lived a lot closer to NYC than me got their boats and helped a large number of people get off the island. There were more heroes and leaders on that day than one could imagine, and I'm thankful for it.

With all of that said... it sometimes feels like we haven't progressed all that far since that day. We're still sending troops into Afghanistan. The Taliban's growing stronger. There are other terrorist groups that have taken up the mantle and wish ill will upon the United States and pretty much anyone else who doesn't believe as they do.

Sometimes that's the problem with leadership. Instead of thinking about others and their needs they think about themselves and their needs. They find ways to justify their desires by inflating their own reality but the majority of other people see it for what it is, even if they don't have the power to overcome it.

That's one of the problems in condemning an entire country or city for the acts of the people in charge. Condemning an entire company for the bad acts of the people in charge also makes little sense... but it's effective, though I hate admitting that.

Leaders need to be concerned about others, not themselves. When leaders work to help others they end up helping themselves. It's great to have a vision, but if it's not one that the majority of others are willingly ready to help promote then it's a lousy vision.

That's a lesson the terrorists on 9/11/01 didn't learn; if you're a leader in any capacity, are you ready to learn it?

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