Dealing with the 5th Anniversary of 9/11

This is the email I sent to our staff on Friday:

"Hi all – As you know, this Monday marks the 5th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Obviously this was a day that not only changed the course of world history, but also impacted many of us personally, on many different levels.

The agency’s principals wrestled with how to best deal with this event. Should we ask for a moment of silence, agency-wide? Should we make it a floating holiday? Allow people to come in an hour late?

The fact is, the importance of September 11 rightfully resists any attempts at ‘mandated’ observances. So, this Monday, commemorate the day in whatever way feels appropriate to you.

If there is an event going on in downtown Boston or San Francisco on Monday that you’d like to attend, at any hour – please feel free to attend. If you can’t face the day – please, stay home. If you’d like to watch some sort of commemoration or documentary on TV that morning – come in late. If you would prefer that Monday be business-as-usual – come on in and make it a business-as-usual day. All we’d ask is that you inform your manager in advance…"

Writing that email was harder than I thought. I went through a handful of drafts. The terrorist attacks were both unifying and polarizing; the experience changed the way we act internally and the way we’ve been perceived externally. All of which was in my head as I wrote that note to our staff. Being a blogger, my inclination was to spew my personal thoughts and opinions on terrorism, democracy, politics, etc. But in the end I was humbled, made nearly speechless, by remembering both the viciousness of the attacks and the stupendous loss of life on 9/11/01.

Here’s my advice for today, in case you were looking for any advice: keep the day simple.

UPDATE: a better idea for how-to spend the day can be found here.

Posted on: September 11, 2006 at 9:53 am By Todd Defren
One Response to “Dealing with the 5th Anniversary of 9/11”



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