September 11th will live in our collective spirits for years to come. As an American who resides in the Boston area, it has particular meaning for me on a personal and professional level. On September 11, 2001 I was in downtown Boston, speaking to 150 women of Verizon (the national telephone company) at the very time when the attacks happened. The women lost colleagues on that day. To make matters worse, a third plane smashed into the Pentagon in Washington DC. Then when you couldn't take anymore news, we learned of the heroic passengers who fought with the hijackers on United Airlines Flight 93, crashing the plane on the rolling fields of Pennsylvania.
On September 12th I was scheduled to speak at a leadership retreat with another respected client, The TJX Companies, the multinational corporation and owners of TJ Maxx and Marshalls. When I arrived at their retreat that next day, everyone was in tears, shocked by the events of the previous day. They lost seven people on one of the outbound Boston planes that hit the World Trade Center.
After abruptly ending my workshop at Verizon and racing down the stairs of their regional headquarters, I entered a madhouse on the streets of Boston. Chaos everywhere. Cell phones did not work. Reporters thrust microphones in your face if you had any relatives or colleagues in New York. I pressed my way on the train, picked up my car, and roared off to the radio station that broadcast my weekly empowerment program. Something told me I had to be there...had to get on the air...to do something to help. A colleague and I ended up broadcasting live from noon to 6pm, airing newsfeed from ABC as fast as we could get it.
This video clip is a brief reflection of my experience on that paradigm-shifting day. It also gives thought to what we can do now to counter the hate, mistrust and cultural animosity that still permeates our world.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.
And let us never forget the bravery and courage of the diverse group of people who died on September 11th.
-Carole Copeland Thomas
Video Length: 5:30
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Carole Copeland Thomas is a 27 year speaker, trainer and consultant specializing in global diversity, empowerment, multiculturalism and leadership issues.