9/11/01

September 11, 2001 is a day America will never forget.

The day started differently.  School had begun a few weeks earlier and we had settled into the morning routine of getting up, getting breakfast, getting ready, and going to school.  I had just begun the 4th grade, my first year in upper grade, and was eagerly awaiting my birthday in seven days.  I had plans to run for student office, play sports, make new friends, learn important new topics, rule the world…normal high achieving 4th grade plans.

Instead I woke up to my mom watching tv and a feeling of anger and fear I had never felt before.  I will always remember that fateful day. The day I learned what fear and resilience really meant. It was also the day I fell in love with New York City, a place I would later visit.

One of the towers had just been hit as my mom let out a scream of terror and disbelief.  As I walked into the front room I was confused, the tv was NEVER on school mornings. My mom turned around and our eyes connected. I knew something terrible happened and I immediately thought of my dad and my aunt. My dad was in Las Vegas and was scheduled to fly home either today or tomorrow. My aunt was always traveling. There were talks of additional flights going down, I had to know that I would see them again.

The sequence of the rest of the day is fussy but I remember the events clearly. My mom explaining what happened, confirming that both my aunt and dad were alive and well, going to school, and trying to regain some normalcy.

My fourth grade teacher pulling down a map to show that New York was across the country. The pain and agony that hung in the air. We watched some of the newscast in class and waited to hear if our Vice Principal’s brother had made it out of the trade center in time. The entire school applauded as the announcement that he was alive and uninjured ran out. Finally the day was done and I got to talk to my dad. After hearing his voice, I breathed a sigh of relief. He was ok. Now I had to create a plan to get him home.

I set to work informing my dad that he was forbidden from stepping foot on an airplane, in an airport, or really anything remotely related to air (breathing was barely acceptable).  He was to get home as fast as he could as safely as he could and anyone who stood in his way of getting to me would have to answer to me. At the age of eight, I was ready to take on the world and anyone to prevent another disaster from happening.

September 11, 2001 was a horrible, painful day but it would be the days following that would continue to amaze me.  Communities coming together to start to rebuild and people supporting each other to search for people buried in the rubble left me speechless. The selflessness demonstrated throughout New York City proved that we were down but we were no out.

Years later, I had the opportunity to visit New York for the first time.  My school choir had been invited to participate in a Choir Festival an honor and an opportunity. In three tour busses, a truly comical sight in NYC, we visited the Empire State Building, the Rockefeller Center, attended a broadway play, and even took a ferry out to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Every stop was breathtaking and memorable; however, walking through the 9/11 memorial that was being built was an honor. The events of that day came rushing back as I stared at the giant hole that was once two iconic towers. The destruction was gone, replaced by hope regardless of how cliché it sounds.

I remember entering New York City for the first time. I knew that someday I would be back. My story has moments of destruction and anguish, but I to have begun to rebuild and am stronger in spite of everything. I will never be able to express my sorrow for those who have been affected by September 11, 2001 or the actions after, yet I will continue to be inspired, encouraged by the citizens of New York City and hope to one day to have the honor of calling myself a New Yorker.

Pro Football Cities They Be a Changing

The past couple of years professional teams have made the heart-breaking announcement to move to a new city. L.A. Rams, L.A. Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, the list seems to continually lengthen. I cannot imagine the anger and pain I would feel if my team, the San Fransisco Giants, made the announcement that they were moving away from the City by the Bay.

Focusing specifically on the Oakland Raiders, the move is completely ridiculous.  The fans have seasoned years of disappointing performances along with a crumbling stadium.  Regardless of the condition, the fans continue to buy tickets. The Black Hole is the Oakland Raiders.  It is an atmosphere that cannot be replicated in Los Vegas.

Las Vegas is a place people go to escape from their day-to-day struggles and life.  The city has promoted their tourism with the line, What Happens in Vegas….Stays in Vegas.  The residents of Las Vegas have made it clear that they avoid the craziness of the strip at all costs.  So, if tourists are exploring their wild side at the casinos and clubs and natives are enjoying their strip-free lifestyles, how will a team will seats in their new (expensive) stadium?

Yes, the city is already home to one professional team, but its success seems limited.  The hot climate mixed with the NHL ice is the perfect winning combination, but the success might be limited to the one sport.  After all, how can you expect people to watch a game in the 100 plus heat?

Aside from the loss of jobs and community involvement and moral, the simple logistics of moving the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas is not logical.  Yes, the stadium is lacking basic functionality. Yes, the possibility of a new city and stadium is exciting. However, Oakland has proved multiple times that growth and rebirth can happen.

Keeping the Raiders in Oakland is not the easy option, but that is what makes Oakland. Build another stadium for the Raiders and rebuild the Colosseum for the A’s, create a trifecta of professional sports.

Invest in Oakland like Oakland has invested in the Raiders.

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Cloudy with a Chance of Streaming: Are Disney & Streaming the New Power Couple?

Disney recently announced that they will be pulling their content from Netflix and Hulu in advance of launching their own streaming service.

The move is shocking considering streaming is not new. Netflix started in 1997 and Hulu in 2007. More interesting is Disney has been a 30% owner of Hulu since April 2009.  With Disney attempting to become the third major option in the streaming race, how will this affect Hulu?

Regardless of the business schematics, streaming has continued to gain momentum.  College campuses are full of loyal Netflix and Hulu subscribers. The month to month billing allows them financial freedom and the endless content provides them with the perfect studying companion.  Disney is attempting to benefit from this demographic and more users, yet Disney has released plans to stream movies.  These movies, while popular and high theater grossing, costumers are less likely to binge watch a movie; however, it has been shown time and time again that people will spend hours binging an entire series.

This seems like a recipe for disaster.  Starting a brand new service and filling it with content people are less likely to watch.  An business analyst will tell you that this business plan is set up for failure.  Yet, with one move Disney can change their streaming from villainous defeat to a happily ever after.

Bring…Back…the…90’s

As a child of the 90’s, I would love to be able to watch the shows I grew up with.  Shows like Lizzie McGuire, Even Stevens, Kim Possible, Phill of the Future, The Proud Family and so many more remind the paying public of simpler times.  Looking again at one of the major demographic, college students, prove that this retro addition will work. College students have to deal with demanding studies, financial problems, the dreaded group projects, and the reality of the dreaded “real world”.

Disney please bring the 90’s back with your new streaming service. While the fashion and music was less than impressive, the content was straight forward, uncensored.