On Sept. 11, 2001, I was in the lobby of my carwash in Boca Raton, Flordia, when a customer told me a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Centers. At the time, it was speculated to have been a small private plane. I turned on the TV in my lobby and watched in horror as a second plane flew into the other tower. It was then that we realized this wasn’t just a freak accident and that the U.S. was under attack. As reports piled in about another plane attacking the Pentagon and the plane that was brought down in the fields of Pennsylvania by some brave passengers, I understood the very real fact that we were at war.
As the father of a then 10-year-old, I worried about her future and the future of the country against the unknown.
It’s been almost 19 years since that fateful day, yet it is seared in my mind’s eye forever.
Today, we face a new enemy. There isn’t a moment in time that was marked. No one will be able to tell you where they were or what they were doing at the time of this attack, and it remains ongoing.
This time, the enemy is invisible. It’s difficult enough to fight a foe right in front of you — an invisible one presents a whole new set of challenges.
I’ve heard it said that adversity builds character. I think it reveals it. Do you remember how our country came together in days post 9/11? Neighbors helped neighbors, flags flew on every house and every car, and people bought meals for first responders. Heck, even politicians from both sides came together, although it was short-lived.
America has faced adversity several times before and kicked its butt every time — this time will be no different!
While we have never been faced with an almost entirely closed nation before, we will come back and be stronger for it. Some will use this as an excuse for failure; others will use it as a learning experience to study where our weaknesses might be and make the corrections to come out stronger on the other side.
The carwash industry was on a run that only a world wide event like this could slow, and that’s what it’s done. It slowed it. It’s not going to stop it!
When this is behind us — and hopefully, it will be soon— let’s go back and be the country we were after 9/11. I see it starting to happen already. Washes that remain open are washing doctors’, nurses’, techs’, and first responders’ vehicles for free. Restaurants are sending food to hospitals to feed over-burdened staff, and retired doctors and nurses coming back to work. Ball players are paying the stadiums’ help.
As long as we remember that we are “One Nation Under God,” this too, shall pass.
Bob Fox has 35 years’ experience in the carwash industry and is the vice president of Sonny’s Car Wash College™. Bob can be reached at [email protected]. For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit CarWash College or call the registrar’s office at 1-866-492-7422.
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