In Honor of Heroes

I remember when I was young and my parents or grandparents would discuss their exact activities and emotions when JFK was killed or the attack on Pearl Harbor.  I didn’t quite grasp the emotion as I understood it on this day 11 years ago at 8:46 a.m.  The shock and pain of this tragic day remains vivid in our memories.  Our world changed forever and I fear it will never be the same. When I think back now, I am humbled by the numerous heroes, the leaders who made quick decisions knowing only the facts in front of them.  Whether it was to rush the cockpit door to save the masses, go into a burning building never hesitating because they may not make it out or stopping to comfort someone who was overwhelmed.  I could go on and on.  Although a tragic day in our history, this day also serves as a day to remember that leaders and heroes are in our lives each day.   I spoke to a dear friend and colleague this morning.  She was with me on that day 11 years ago and being in charge of  the Human Resources function for our Company we were expected to stay calm and do what we had to do.  We had an office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, employees in New York City and many more on airplanes, traveling.  I’m not sure either of us really broke down until days later, but when we did it was bad.  I have two points to make today.  The first is that there is leadership inside of all of us.  Sometimes it comes when you least expect it.  When a leader is making a decision he/she can only use the facts in front of them to establish an action plan and sometimes you only have seconds.  The other point is that it’s really easy being a leader (a hero) in essence, when everything is going good.  True leaders are revealed in the way they react in times of turmoil and the unknown.