2,996 volunteer bloggers are writing today, September 11, 2006, in tribute to the 2,996 victims of the “9-11” American tragedy. I am one of those bloggers. I write in tribute to Matthew T. McDermott. We have never met.
I blog extemporaneously. In this entry, I find myself using the backspace key ruthlessly. Although I have thought about this project since I enrolled a couple weeks ago, I cannot really get past this one thought. This one blunt thought keeps crossing my mind when I think of what I’m going to say to you about him. I resist it, “No. Don’t share this with your readers. Write something meaningful that ties into business, but that is joyful. Find something wonderful to say. Don’t say it.” And after wrestling with my heart over this long and hard, I’m just going to let my inner voice speak and see where the story goes.
Matthew T. McDermott went to work one day, but he didn’t come home. The truth is as simple and as painful as that.
Almost three thousand people did what they would usually do on a Tuesday morning. It was an otherwise ordinary day, punctuated by a traumatic shockwave that is still felt around the world. Somehow it is this contrast of business-as-usual with the catastrauphic that stuns me the most.
Matthew T. McDermott was a family man, only 34 years old, and Vice President of Cantor Fitzgerald and at the World Trade Center in New York City.
Matthew woke up on Tuesday September 11th 2001 in the New Jersey home that he shared with his wife and daughters. Being an equity trader, he probably got up early, showered, shaved and was on time for his morning commute. Being a family man, he probably kissed his 3-year old daughter Kara and 2 year-old Kelly goodbye. Being a husband, he probably told his then 3-month pregnant wife Susan he loved her and told her when he’d be home that night. I say “probably,” because I am not privy to the facts, but also to make a point. It was a typical morning, just like so many mornings before that one. Like so many mornings we all have.
Matthew T. McDermott went to work that day…
At 8:48 am Matthew called his wife at home. He was on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center. She was watching Barney with their daughters. He told her there was an explosion, as a plane had crashed into the building. She grabbed the TV remote control, changed the chanel to the news, just in time to see the 2nd plane hit. Hoping he would be able to escape, praying he would survive, she later saw the building collapse–knowing.
…but he didn’t come home.
There is no philosophy, no belief, and no theory that can change the flat-world reality that when our destiny has changed, when it is our turn to leave this world, we don’t come home. Not to this world, not in this same way. Not in a the physical sense of a father picking up and feeling the weight of his newborn child. Not in an interactive way that our loved ones can touch, see, and laugh with us. Anyone that has experienced true grief knows what I mean. There is a loss. We are sensitive beings. It doesn’t matter how spiritual you are, what god you have, or how you rationalize it: we love strong and grieve deeply.
In reflecting on Matthew T. McDermott, I can feel a warmth of spirit. I imagine his love coming through this keyboard, dispersing in tiny electronic blips through the light of monitors. I can picture him happy and radiant. He is still a loving father and husband. And if he were alive today, it is probable that he would still wake up early, shower, and shave. He would kiss his family goodbye, squeeze them with all his might, and go to work feeling like the luckiest man on earth. That’s what hard-working American men do: they go to work. They work for their families. They work for their communities. And despite all the goals we have for ourselves in business, all of the things we want to do, all of the things we think we should do, all of this “doing-ness” –at the end of the day, what we value most is the love.
In honor of Matthew T. McDermott, bring some love into your work. Take a moment to feel compassion for all the other hard-workers around us. We’re all just trying to find our way in this world. Tell someone how much you love & appreciate them. Speak your heart’s inner-voice. Make that lunch-time phone call to a loved one. It’s probably just an ordinary day as you’re reading this at work. Go ahead. Make it an inspirational day. Take your love to work today, and share it. You’ve got so much more to give.
For more reading, here are some links on Matthew T. McDermott & the 2996 project:
For those inspired to memorialize Matthew T. McDermott and send blessings to his wife and children, reply in the comments field here on the blog. If they are reading the 2006 project site, this blog article will be linked there for them to see.
And for those of you grieving the loss of a loved one, whether that is Matthew T. McDermott, another person who died in the 9-11 events, or anyone who’s heart aches today, I send a special blessing to you. May peace surround and comfort you today, and always.
Jaya Savannah - Chief Inspiration Officer. Strategy Coach for Holistic Businesses. Trainer, speaker, and writer. Spiritually aware, yet street smart. Elephant lover.