Unity

September 11, 2013.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been twelve years since the Twin Towers fell. God, I miss those towers. I would stare at them when my parents would drive me into Manhattan on weekends in high school. They were the background to my thoughts while driving to visit my first love in Brooklyn on so many college nights. In some ways, they would remind me to stand a little taller, be a little stronger, and never be afraid to stand out.

As a New Yorker, I will always miss them.

I’m not going to share my 9/11/01 story. It pales in comparison to the tragedies many suffered. Instead, I want to take a moment to remind you of the thing I remember most about that day.

Unity.

I saw a united New York City. We all still looked quite different, dressed differently, thought differently about a wide diversity of issues…but we came together. People of different political ideologies, lifestyles, jobs, families, ethnicities–we all helped each other out. It was one of the few days when we took a minute to realize that we’re all still people–people with families we love, people with beliefs we value, people with instincts to survive and reach out a helping hand when a stranger needs you.

I will never forget the unity I saw that day. Years later, as I find myself in a business fueled by heated opinions, I refuse to forget that the people disagreeing with me are often loving, caring, passionate people who would extend a helping hand my way. I would do the same for them.

I learned so many lessons on 9/11/01. I learned that I can run a lot faster than I thought I could. I learned that not being able to reach the people you love when tragedy strikes is one of the worst feelings in the world. I learned that courage lives deep inside you, and when you need it most, it shows up to help you out.

And I learned that you can be principled, can fight for what you believe in, and can still treat the people you disagree with well. It may not always make for the best TV, but I promise you it makes for a better world.

So, no matter where life takes you, take that moment to remember that we’re all still people. We shouldn’t need a tragedy to make that happen.

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