Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (9/11 Diary)

Sometimes, though, you have to put a stake in the ground and declare your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor

This article continues our remembrance of the events of September 11, 2001.

I wrote the following on Thursday, September 13, 2001 and posted it on the ZATZ news pages. I've gone back into the archives, found my posts from those days, and I'm re-publishing them here, raw, and un-retouched. Reading my old posts has helped me get in touch with what this anniversary means. I hope that they serve a healing purpose for you, as well.

For the last two days, we've been living in shock. Everyone I know has been affected deeply by this tragedy. I'll see a new image on the screen, read a new personal story in someone's online Web log, and it'll set me off. It's been tough to focus, to concentrate. It's been a huge challenge just to come to work.

Here at ZATZ, we've been struggling with the issues that must be facing businesses everywhere. First, we need to come together as members of the human race and as a family. We need to talk, comfort each other, and continue to reassure each other that we'll be OK, even as we question whether this horror marks the end of the tragedy or the beginning of a new phase of terror.

In that context, it's been virtually impossible to find importance in the minutiae of our daily jobs. How, for example, could we possibly publish industry news and press releases when all this was going on? How could we possibly even care about editing articles? And, certainly, we couldn't make sales calls. It's not only poor taste, it's just not something we can bring ourselves to do.

We love our company and what we do. But ZATZ and, frankly, the whole technology/Internet thing becomes inconsequential in the context of what we've just seen. When you get up in the morning out of your nice, warm, soft bed and you realize that a bunch of just plain folk did that same thing on Tuesday and they're still trapped, maybe even still barely alive, it's really hard to care about LotusScript, XML, doing a HotSync, or downloading that new cool app.

Tuesday at ZATZ, we sent everyone home to be with their families. Thankfully, we're all fine. Our staff members include myself (David Gewirtz), Denise Amrich, Heather McDaniel, Theo Durst, Emily Lopizzo, Steve Niles, and Anastatia Levari and we're all fine. It also looks like our family and friends seem to be out of harm's way. Yesterday, we came into work. Honestly, not a hell of a lot got done, but we took our first step towards reclaiming our lives. And we're back again today.

Today, we're going to resume limited news coverage. You're reading this, and if we have any press releases or other industry news stories, we're going to post them. Some of you might think it's callous or too early. It's not. We need to regain our lives. We need to stand up and show the world that while we were deeply affected by the recent events, we were not broken. It's not the industry news that matters. It's that we're still here. We don't shut down that easily.

DominoPower's September issue was due out on Tuesday. Obviously that didn't happen. Although we're still having a tough time focusing, we're going to do our best to get the issue out today, just like we normally would. Normally, we'd send out an issue announcement and, of course, every Friday we send out tips. This week, we're holding those mailings until Monday. But they will go out Monday. We were not broken. We are still here. And we, like so many of our fellow citizens, are going to make sure the world knows it.

So when you see the new issue of DominoPower, when you see today's news, and when you see, next week, our regular tips, appearing as if it's business as normal, know it's because it will be business as normal. It has to be. Anything else would be a victory for the dark side.

I'll close with a few final thoughts. You should know that the question of how and when we move on has been hotly debated inside ZATZ. It's tough deciding between moving forward and grieving. Sometimes, though, you have to put a stake in the ground and declare your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That stake goes in the ground now. We're moving forward.

"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

Read the rest of the 9/11 Diary series:

See also:

During our 9/11 retrospective coverage, I invite you to post your thoughts and remembrances, but I also request you remain respectful and polite. This isn't just a story of politics. This is a story of real people, their families, and their loss. Courtesy is demanded at a time like this. Thanks!

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