In remembrance of all those who gave their lives on 9/11/2001…
We walked a couple blocks, turned right, walked another couple blocks, turned left, walked another couple blocks, turned right and repeated this exact process about ten times. I can’t say I know my way around New York City but I do know my general directions.
We had just capped off a week of non-paleo eating with a feast in Little Italy and didn’t mind taking the scenic route to burn up some glucose. If anyone is keeping score; Jersey – 3, My Paleo Diet in Jersey – 0.
The walking was starting to feel a little excessive and a slight panic was starting to set in that I was leading my wife and parents in the completely wrong direction. I was about to check Google Maps on my phone when I turned the corner and saw one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen.
There she was in all her glory, One World Trade Center, our Freedom Tower.
I had seen it on TV, online, and afar from Newark International Airport, but seeing and feeling the giant presence in person was completely breathtaking.
After the initial shock, I had a feeling that could only be described as an adrenaline rush. I immediately was taken back to September 11th when the attacks happened. The terrifying events played back in my mind as I felt for each and every soul saved and lost that day.
I can still remember my exact feelings that September morning. I had the same rush of adrenaline and the feeling that I needed to do something. I couldn’t stand the helplessness I felt as I had to sit and watch the events unfold. I tried to imagine myself in the horrifying events as I sat in my high school classroom a thousand miles away. I watched as heroic firefighters and businessmen carried people out of the collapsing towers.
Would I be able to do that I wondered? Could I be completely fearless if I had to be?
Would I be one of the saved or would I be one of the lost? Could I save anyone besides myself?
“Ever since 9/11…”
You hear this term used a lot about how our world changed, but the events that happened that day completely changed my world.
Ever since 9/11/2001 my health and fitness took on a whole new meaning to me in my life.
I knew from then on that being in top fitness meant so much more than swinging a baseball bat faster or getting a girl to notice me; But that I needed to be able to protect the ones I loved at all times, no matter what the crisis was.
Whether it be a terrorist attack, a natural disaster, or the criminal act of another; I would vow to always be prepared in order to save a life.
All it takes is one simple selfish act of another person to put years of training to the test. But when failing means a life has been lost (whether it’s yours’ or anothers’), you should place supreme importance on preparation to survive.
There are events happening every single day that are testing people’s fitness, and the outcome is life or death. You see survivor stories in the news and the survivors often point out how lucky they were. This is where I like to point out that luck can be defined as preparation meeting opportunity. I think I heard Michael Jordan say that once.
I know I’m a caveman, and I’m acting like a saber tooth tiger is going to attack you as soon as you look up from your smart phone. LOOK OUT! …just kidding. But I don’t think I can stress enough, the importance of being fit enough to save your own life.
It should be MORE important than any weight lifted or any belt loop surpassed.
This is your life, and you need to be able to preserve it.
Remember these wise words the next time you are in the gym. I promise it will fuel your workouts like never before. It will give meaning and purpose to every rep you grind out.
You don’t have to wait for tragedy to hit too close to home to give you reason to be as fit as possible.
As for your workouts, I encourage everyone out there to take on a CrossFit or CF style workout for at least 2 weeks. (Don’t know what CrossFit is? Then check out the 2012 CrossFit Games airing tonight on ESPN2.) It will not only push you past your limits but it will also strengthen you in lifts that would actually mean something in a survival situation (i.e. pull-ups, push-ups, squats, clean and jerks).
It’s these lifts that recruit several muscle groups at a time, which give the body a hormonal bonus by triggering a neuroendocrine response.
The more you make your body react in the controlled environment of a gym, the better off you’ll be in the real world where you never know what is coming at you.
As we walked back through Soho from One World Trade Center, I glanced to my right to see a plaque with September 11th, 2001 inscribed on it. It was placed on the wall with two similar plaques below. I realized I was standing in front of Engine 55 and the plagues were dedicated to their firefighters who died that tragic day.
Upon looking up Engine 55 online the next day I learned they also lost a Lieutenant Firefighter which brought their total 9/11 casualities to 4. I also learned that a total of 343 members of the FDNY family died that day.
Extremely sad, but also extremely inspiring at the same time.
To know that many heroes prepared each day to put their lives on the line for others and ultimately gave their lives is a commitment so powerful that it cannot be described in words.
I know September 11th, 2001 will always be remembered as a day of terror. A day that opened our eyes to the dangers of the world.
But I hope you remember it as a day of heroes.
I hope it inspires you to find the hero within yourself and live everyday full of purpose, love, and drive.
To all our heroes, in this world or the next, Thank You and God Bless.