My memory of the day is marked by my vision from the 39th floor of the Javits Federal Building of both World Trade Center buildings aflame, by the long hours of trying unsuccessfully to contact my wife who was driving by the twin towers when they were attacked, and by our eventual reunion in a Midtown Manhattan hotel.
What has endured for me is the possibility of significant and meaningful change.
Attitudes changed. We vowed to renew commitments to our core values, to our families, our places of worship and communities. We pledged that our pursuit of wealth, career, fame and power would become secondary to love, generosity and kindness. Some people quit their jobs or took leaves of absence to strengthen relationships with loved ones.
My federal career has continued in another agency and another job, but the renewed commitment to my family and community remains. When a choice presents itself, I more readily take a day’s leave to share in my family’s joys and sorrows. The inbox and email can wait for tomorrow.
Friedland 10 years ago was staffing officer in the Social Security Administration’s New York Regional Office. He now is human resources officer in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s New York Regional Office.