Joseph Lewandoski

First the memories: Staring at the first plane stuck in the first tower of the World Trade Center. While staring, witnessing the second plane hit the other tower. Immediately walking five miles due north away from 290 Broadway in Lower Manhattan, recalling that I felt that my feet were not pounding the sidewalk while escaping. Weeks later, having returned to work, I recall the no-let-up stench of things that had burned, and closed-off streets as I passed federal police holding huge weapons.

Ten years later I work in a similar job in a suburban IRS office away from the city. I look around much more just in case I see something not quite right, sort of always on patrol. It is not being morbid, but I fully know now that nothing, even life, is guaranteed. I tell a lot of people that I am blessed, fortunate, appreciative for having life.

I stop every Sept. 11 and dedicate some portion of that day to remembering, and reminding myself to move on and enjoy what I have been given. Maybe I’m a better person. Maybe the price was ridiculously expensive.

Lewandoski is an IRS senior stakeholder liaison in New York.