Editor’s Note: On the 15th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Regional Sales Director Brad Owens recalls his memories of that fateful day and the career change that occurred that helped him conquer the common fear shared by many after the attacks. 

I remember 9/11/ 2001 like it was yesterday. I remember walking out of my morning sales meeting at the dealership where I worked. Our meeting room was just off the service department’s customer lounge. The television was always on the morning news. We walked out just after the first plane hit and watched the second plane hit live.  I’m sure my sense of comprehension was no different from my co-workers and others around the world. I couldn’t quite understand the visuals on the screen.  My colleagues and I spent moments in silence with the occasional gasp here and there — trying to understand whom, how, and why someone would want to do such a thing. Who would hurt so many people and forever change the course of so many lives?

Bursting the Bubble

Before 9/11, I had not traveled much.  My hometown was my bubble; I thought I would be there for the rest of my life.  But after 9/11, some THING had woken up inside me. I had the strong urge to see as much of the U.S. and the world as I could. I started looking to make a change in my life and found ELEAD1ONE.  I took a pay cut with the promise of opportunity — that chance to see the U.S. and most of all, ELEAD1ONE allowed me to push myself beyond everything I had known, in the small bubble I had known up until that point in my life.

500 Flights and Counting

I remember thinking I’m not going to let someone else make me feel unsafe or scared to do something in the country I love.  I took my third flight ever in my life, exactly two months to the day after 9/11, and I’ve never looked back. My best guess is 500 flights and counting.  I think about all people who are now in my life and all the places I’ve had the joy to visit. I’ve been blessed to meet people from all over the world, all walks of life, and to call most of them my friends.

Even 15 years removed, I remember every day how this one day impacted my life. I remember what my beloved country and fellow Americans felt in the those, days, weeks, months, and years after September 11, 2001. How proud we were to stand together no matter race or religion — no matter what you consider as your hometown bubble.

9/11 will always be a very sad day for many of us.

Parents lost their children.

Partners lost their soulmates.

Friends lost friends.

Many of the victims started their day off like I had mine – with a typical meeting, or grabbing their morning cup of coffee.

Often through sorrow, the American spirit finds resolve and resilience – that is what I found in the days following that tragic event. It’s the day that I decided I could be more and do more.

I hope you’ll take a moment, or however long you decide is best for you, to remember 9/11.  Remember the heroes, and even remember the sorrow felt.  But also remember the life-changing lessons learned and how much more there is to do.

I remember. I hope you continue to do so too.

 

Brad Owens
Regional Sales Director, ELEAD1ONE