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Never Forget

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

I remember watching the Korean boxer Kim Duk-koo die in a fight against Boom Boom Mancini. I remember where I was when Ronald Reagan was shot. I remember the outbreak of the LA riots at the corner of Florence and Normandie and the beating of Reginald Denny, and I remember watching OJ’s Bronco when it went for its afternoon cruise down the 405. I remember where I was when Brad Nowell of Sublime died.

And, like you, I remember the morning of 9-11.

I was a financial advisor at UBS in Newport Beach. I lived in a wonderful house right at the corner of Cliff and Santa Ana; it had a view that stretched from Catalina down the entire length of Newport Harbor, all the way to Dana Point. I loved the early morning time there, the glow of the morning sun on the glassy water of the bay. And it was a time in my life when I operated a bit like a machine-- I woke up at 5:30 every day, I had CNBC on the TV by 5:50, and I had my dog fed by 6:00. My morning view was consistently beautiful.

On September 11, 2001, I had just gotten out of the shower and turned on the tube. The first tower was already on fire, and I knew immediately that something terrible was happening. I sat down on my couch with my toothbrush in my mouth, but I wasn’t brushing. It was just there, hanging in my mouth; I remember that. After five minutes of both despair and awe, the south tower got hit, and I collapsed onto the floor. I held my dog and cried. I remember that there were beautiful pink clouds over the bay that morning, everything outside of that TV box was so calm. Surreal.

My life-- our lives—changed forever on that day. I was living with a girlfriend at the time, and I went into our room where she was sleeping. I softly explained that The World Trade Center had been bombed and that she might want to come see what was happening, and she growled at me to let her sleep. Suffice it to say that that girlfriend was gone within weeks.

I went into work that day and spent the morning consoling friends; we all knew people who worked in those buildings. I remember some of those hugs, sobbing chests that I held close to my body to no avail. There are so many visions, so many feelings and sensations from that morning that I’m unable to forget, but the holding of uncontrollably heaving bosoms and the sense of helplessness that came with that is what I'll never forget.

9-11 has shaped our lives in so many ways. It has shaped our foreign policy for two entire decades. It has shaped our national views about defense, immigration and trade.

But I don’t care. I’m going to cry tomorrow, 19 years later, for all the other reasons.

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