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Moving on as we remember

September 11, 2014

3880404698About this time 13 years ago, I returned to my office from a meeting in another Kronos building. I’d left for the meeting just before 9, and as I departed, my buddy in the cubicle facing me said, “a plane hit one of the World Trade Center towers.” I asked what kind of plane. He assumed a small one. None of us could imagine the horror that was unfolding. As I came into his view in front of my office, Mike said, “they’re gone.” “What?” I replied. Then he told me about the hellish hour in NY, DC, and Pennsylvania.

Today I passed a small ceremony at the new Chelmsford Fire Station. The memory of that day is fading, just like the memorials for Pearl Harbor. For some reason I’ve been thinking about how people reflected back on the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack in 1954, 13 years after 2,403 Americans were killed there. The world was different then, but still the same in many ways… Here are some 1954 snippets from Wikipedia:

  • Marilyn Monroe married baseball player Joe DiMaggio (and that was news).
  • After authorizing $385 million over the $400 million already budgeted for military aid to Vietnam, President of the United States Dwight D. Eisenhower warns against his country’s intervention in Vietnam.
  • Bill Haley & His Comets record “Rock Around the Clock”, thus starting the rock and roll craze.
  • Vice President Richard Nixon announces that the United States may be “putting our own boys in Indochina regardless of Allied support.”
  • Senator Joseph McCarthy begins hearings investigating the United States Army for being “soft” on Communism.
  • Brown v. Board of Education (347 US 483 1954): The U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously that segregated schools are unconstitutional.
  • U.S. officials announce that a hydrogen bomb test (Castle Bravo) has been conducted on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.
  • The Soviet Union test fires a thermonuclear bomb for the first time.
  • Willie Mays made “the catch.”
  • Texas Instruments announces the development of the first commercial transistor radio.
  • Muslim Brotherhood member Mahmoud Abdul Latif tries to kill Gamal Abdel Nasser.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rises hit an all-time high of 382.74, the first time the Dow had surpassed its peak level reached just before the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
  • The world’s first successful kidney transplant occurred in Boston, Massachusetts.

The world was dangerous in 1954, and is today, but for every step back we keep stepping forward. Today we’re strong partners with Japan. We work individually and together to move ahead. To advance. To improve. To understand each other better. At the same time we stay alert to threats, and we don’t forget who we’ve lost.

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