By Don Lindsey
With last Tuesday being the 17th year since 9-11, I spent my morning watching the same type of memorial shows that I have every year since that dreadful day. Sometimes I wonder why I do that to myself. Those television programs take me back to working at the University of Dayton, standing on a loading dock, unloading a semi-truck when some lady I’ve never met came running out of the building where I worked. She looked at me, and I’ll always remember her facial expression or the sound of utter panic in her voice as she told me that we were being attacked.
I can also remember not taking her warning seriously. “We don’t get attacked in this country” I thought, and it wasn’t until I saw more people exiting the building with the look of shock and sadness on their faces that I started to get curious and went inside to find a T.V. That’s when I saw the camera catch the second plane flying into the north tower. I was standing in a large dining room that was pretty much packed and the sound of the collective gasp that came from everyone in the room still echoes in my mind. I don’t remember much in the few minutes after that other than being bewildered as to how this could happen.
By the time I got off work and back home, both of the main towers had collapsed, and as I sat on my couch watching the continuing coverage, the familiar feeling of shock and fear hit me as it had earlier in the day. Looking back on it now, I can see that is when I also started to feel a strange sense of gratitude for my life, friends, and family. I had seen people throughout the day stressing out because they couldn’t reach their loved ones who worked at the tower and, being a decent sized university, there were more than a few of those incidences. The fact that I didn’t have any family or friends in danger left me feeling thankful, and when I think back on all of it now, I think even more so.
Life in itself is a gift, and while I had always known that before 9-11, I didn’t grasp the full meaning of it until after. So many people didn’t go home that day, didn’t see their families, and when I think of it in that light now that I have a family, I can’t help to be heartbroken for those people.
I have mentioned many times before about my habit of taking my eyes off of the blessings in my life and missing some wonderful moments in the process. I’ve gotten better at that as of late, and while I still need to slow down a little more and enjoy my family friends, it’s thinking back to September 11, 2001, that makes me hold on to them a little tighter and Friday was one of those days.
My daughter, our youngest, turned 12 and our oldest son turned 18. We sat around the dining room table singing happy birthday, eating ice cream and cake while talking and I couldn’t help but be filled with emotion. I’ve known my kids for seven years now and as I looked around the table, I was flooded with memories from their childhood. To say that I’ve been blessed would be a massive understatement. God has given me so much just in the last few years alone, and thankfully I am seeing how important it all is now and getting the most out of every second.
Don Lindsey is a follower of Christ, son, husband, father, and a survivor. Originally from Dayton Ohio, and resident of Apopka for six years, Don sees his life as a dedication to his wife, parents, children, and community.