Today marks the 13th anniversary of the horrible attack on American soil on 9/11. Every adult in America knows exactly where they were when this life-changing event happened.  I was working as a financial analyst in my office in Scottsdale Arizona that awful morning, watching the news.  I called my father, who was then president of Big Five Tours & Expeditions, and the first question he asked, “What is this?”  Then, I dialed a class mate who worked in the Goldman Sachs building near the towers. I got his voicemail as I watched the first tower collapsing. At that moment, our trading platform also collapsed as some of our system servers were in that tower. I closed myself to the world very quickly and became very quiet. You see, when I left college some years earlier, I almost accepted a job that would have placed me the second tower that morning.

This was the most powerful reminder we could have at just how precious life is and how much we must appreciate all the challenges and victories facing us every day. I am more grateful today than ever for the men and women in our armed forces, who have bled for us, endured for us, and died for us. They continue to wage war against the awful terrorism that has no conscience for its victims. I came to the US in 1985 as a child following a dream my parents had, leaving behind everything we knew in Kenya. If I have learned anything from 9/11, it was about this country’s resolve.  In the face of political discord, I watched this country come together as the united states, and speak in one loud voice. As I watched us rise up like the phoenix, I couldn’t help but think of a passage from my favorite poem from William Ernest Henley:

 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

 

We learned a new reality that day, one we still live with today. With new threats facing us each day, we must make a choice. Are we to be afraid? Or do we follow our strength and make sure we too are “unafraid” to live our lives, to explore the world, and to teach the next generation the most important lesson – inner strength.

 

Ashish Sanghrajka

President

Big Five Tours & Expeditions

 

THAT Agency