Fourteen years ago this morning. Like the JFK assassination and the space shuttle Challenger explosion, we all remember where we were when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked by radical Islamic terrorists. I had just arrived at my office which was still in the process of being setup as my company had just moved into the new office space. There was a large open area where there were still no desks or cubicles setup, and we plugged in a small television and placed it on a chair in this open space as we huddled around the little 12-inch screen watching the news unfold in horror and shock.
Today, I could write about the risk management lessons and the insurance coverage issues that came from this horrific event. I could, but I won’t. The wound is still too raw, and the emotions still too high, even 14 years later, to turn this day into an object lesson. Instead, I want to consider the unfathomable and uninsurable losses that we continue to suffer to this day. There is no insurance coverage for the heartbreak experienced by thousands of families. Life insurance can replace a prematurely extinguished family income source, but it cannot replace the heart and soul of a human being.
There is no insurance for a lost generation and thousands of descendants that we will never know. One of the more moving scenes of the powerful film, Schindler’s List, comes at the end of the film when the surviving Jews are marching across a field and the image morphs into a present day image of the actual survivors. It is reported that today, there are over 7,000 descendants of the Schindler Jews. Were it not for the courageous acts of Oskar Schindler, the world would not know many of these descendants. The 9/11 reality is the opposite. There is no way to know how many descendants of the 9/11 victims we will never know because of the events that occurred 14 years ago today. But I do know that the loss is incalculable. The loss of ideas, of leaders, of poets and music, of inventions, of tenderness, of everything that is human. There is no insurance for such losses. All we can do is remember and imagine what could have been…