Pain lives forever, but silver linings are always possible. The last survivor of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City, Genelle Guzman-McMillan says that with a little faith, she hopes that horrible day will bring good change. From Angel in the Rubble: The Miraculous Rescue of 9/11's Last Survivor.
I believe something good can always come from something bad, even when that something bad is death. That doesn't mean that the pain the deceased's loved ones feel goes away. It doesn't, ever. But maybe it can soften a little bit by their finding a silver lining.
Deadly car crashes over the years have resulted in successful campaigns to create safer cars, which have probably saved thousands upon thousands of lives. Fires in buildings that took lives in the past have produced strict standards when buildings are constructed today, such as emergency exits and sprinkler systems, which have undoubtedly saved lives. The AMBER Alert system was named for a nine-year-old girl in Texas named Amber Hagerman who was abducted and murdered in 1996. The system has likely prevented many child abductions, and versions of it have been implemented in countries around the world.
The attacks on our country on 9/11 brought Americans together like nothing ever seen in my lifetime. Before then, I remember days like Veterans Day being little more than just another day on the calendar. Now everybody properly honors veterans on that day, including school children nationwide, who welcome veterans into their schools and hold special celebrations for them.
Several foundations and other money-raising efforts resulted from 9/11. One example is the Kenny & Brian Williams Fund. The Williams family, from Kentucky, tragically lost two sons. Kenny fell from a skywalk in downtown Cincinnati and spent three years in a coma until he died in 1994. Brian worked for Cantor Fitzgerald in the same building I was in, but about forty floors above me. As a result of the brothers' deaths, their friends and family started the fund to provide high school and college scholarships and to help families that are dealing with tragic events. In 2010, they held their last fundraiser. Why? Because they raised enough money in nine years for the fund to become self-sustaining. So because those two men died, people across the country have been helped, and will forever be helped, by the fund. The pain felt by the brothers' parents will never subside, but there has to be some joy in their hearts, knowing that the legacy of their sons will be helping others for years to come.
My life will forever be an example of good coming from bad. What I went through on 9/11 is something I would not wish upon anybody. The tragic loss of my friends and coworkers will forever leave an emptiness in my heart. The brutal memories of the building collapsing and burying me alive will never go away. But what happened that day changed my life forever in a good way too. It made me realize that the rest of my life needed to be lived differently. I needed to grow up, change my ways, and become the good person my parents raised me to be. Not only have I done that, but now I've shared my story through this book with the hope that others will be touched by my transformation and will be able to turn their lives around.Bad things are going to happen here on earth. That will never change. People will die tragically, violence will persist, crimes will be committed, jobs will be lost, people will argue. These are all parts of life. But something good can always come from something bad. It usually just takes a little effort, a little time, a little hope, a little faith.
- Buy the book Angel in the Rubble: The Miraculous Rescue of 9/11's Last Survivor.
- Lessons from a 9/11 Survivor: Life Stops for Nobody