Editor’s note: On this 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, we’re reprinting Bruce Hetrick’s Notions column from Sept. 9, 2002.
I did not die on 9/11. I wasn’t aboard the wrong airliner or working in the wrong office that day. But had I been, here’s how I’d want you to honor my life and mark the anniversary of my death.
Go to work. Go to class. Go to church. Drive a car. Drive it fast. Drive someone nuts. Hop a plane. Ride the rails. Blaze a trail. Take a hike. Take a nap. Take five. Take pictures. Take your time. Ride bareback. Ride the waves. Ride a bike. Ride a Harley. Ride an Otis. Climb stairs. Climb the ladder. Fall down. Get up. Sing a song. Sing along. Write a letter. Write a book. Book a trip. Trip the light. Light a match. Make a match. Call a friend. Call the shots. Shoot the breeze. Shoot the moon. Make noise. Make amends. Make a mint. Make a difference. Say thanks. Say cheese. Say no. Say please. Grill a witness. Grill a steak. Stake a claim. Claim a prize. Pray the news. Get real. Get a raise. Raise your arms. Lift your spirits. Spoil a kid. Kid a kid. Hold your own. Host a party. Party hearty. Have a drink. Sip wine. Chug beer. Buy a blouse. Buy a house. Buy a van. Read a novel. Watch a film. Watch another. Play games. Play house. Clean house. Clear the deck. Tell the truth. Tell no lies. Sell the farm. Save a soul. Set ’em up. Mow ’em down. Mow the lawn. Get down. Sleep in. Sleep around. Run a lap. Take the rap. Take the bus. See a game. See a show. See it through. Love to laugh. Sing the blues. Row a boat. Run a mile. Knit a brow. Crack a smile. Take the fifth. Drink a fifth. Set sail. Set limits. Break the limit. Break bread. Bake cookies. Fry dough. Spend dough. Sign checks. Cut deals. Cut your hair. Paint your nails. Take a shower (with a friend). Take another (all alone). Get paid. Get by. Get high. Analyze. Socialize. Realize. Scandalize. Love. Hate. Relate. Be late. Anticipate. Appreciate. Negotiate. Contemplate. Commiserate. Donate. Retaliate. Pontificate. Celebrate. Redecorate. Rededicate. Procrastinate. Wear one glove. Wear it out. Don a hat. Change hues. Swing a bat. Swing your partner. Dance a jig. Think big. Protest. Take a rest. Feather your nest. Sell your stuff. Line your pockets. Empty your pockets. Smile. Sob. Be a slob. Beat the crowd. Join the crowd. Shout out loud. Be proud. Be well endowed. Get wowed. Eat fries. Drink a shake. Ski a lake. Lie awake. Buy shoes. Buy closets full. Go barefoot. Walk on coals. Walk the beach. Have your say. Make someone’s day. Make a speech. Speak your piece. Jump. Jive. Jam. Thrive. Climb a hill. Watch a cloud. Dig a hole. Swat a fly. Smash a skeeter. Soar. Score. Saunter. Sigh. Feed the ducks. Plant a tree. Save a whale. Shoot a three. Get mad. Get even. Get revenge. Go get ’em. Listen. Learn. Look up. Look around. Lift weights. Lift your face. Lift your spirits. Lift your eyes. Spread lotion. Spread the word. Propose. Kiss the bride. Teach school. Reach out. Preach a sermon. Twist and shout. Let it out. Bend a rule. Bend a knee. Be cool. Act the fool. Drool. Draw. Dream. Scheme. Skip rope. Skip class. Ski the slopes. Do the zoo. File a suit. Buy a suit. Rent a suite. Be neat. Meet a neighbor. Serve brownies. Join the Brownies. Adopt a cat. Adopt a child. Walk the dog. Ride a trail. Rollerblade. Rubberneck. Get a massage. Give one back. Tell a joke. Tell a tale. Take prisoners. Play checkers. Check voicemail. Mail a check. Send e-mail. Send flowers. Water plants. Wash windows. Wash your car. Mop the floor. Take a bath. Give a bath. Eat healthy. Tax the wealthy. Play catch. Catch a play. Read the paper. Paper a room. Room alone. Spread a rumor. Start a band. Milk a cow. Plow a field. Ford a stream. Start a business. Make a job. Admire a mentor. Close up shop. Dress down. Dress up. Act out. Act up. Dress in drag. Drag your heels. Drag race. Play chicken. Chicken out. Sing lullabies. Hear babies cry. Rent a tux. Press your luck. Luck out. Do lunch. Play a hunch. Do time. Do something. Just do it. Just sit there. Tip your hat. Stand and clap. Lend an ear. Lend a hand. Take a stand. Change your name. Fry tomatoes. Spell potato. Whistle a tune. Shoot the moon. Kiss a girl. Make her cry. Bake a pie. Have your cake. Eat it, too. Bask in the glow. Be in the know. Pull a no-show. RSVP. Climb a tree. Steal a kiss. Steal the show. Cut the crap. Cut the cheese. Cut it out. Play Bach. Play ball. Play hooky. Shoot pool. Make hay. Make out. Make up. Mend walls. Warm up. Chill out. Stand pat. Take a hit. Curl your hair. Pierce your navel. Play the field. Raise hell. Raise Cain. Flirt. Wait tables. Don’t wait. Buy tickets. Get ticketed. Get towed. Cheer. Chant. Shout. Scream. Take a risk. Take a chance. Hit the wall. Cry out loud. Cry for help. Surf the net. Take the plunge. Take a bow. Rent a limo. Don a Speedo. Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee. Jaywalk. Backtalk. Ball hawk. Be a rock. Post a sign. Search for signs. Pay a debt. Fly a kite. Pop Prozac. Buy your shares back. Change a tire. Tell a tale. Change lanes. Change your tune. Change the rules. Live for change. Reach out. Seek and find. Hide and seek. Shut your mouth. Mouth off. Stand up. Stand out. Vote. Veto. Value. Vilify. Volunteer. Take a loan. Get a life. Turn up the volume. Do your homework. Wine and dine. Run for office. Run errands. Run for your life. Win a game show. Win Lotto. Spin the bottle. Spin your wheels. Eat out. Eat your heart out. Do the laundry. Hear the music. Feel the beat. Turn up the heat. Be cool. Hang ten. Hang it up. Hang out. Paint a portrait. Paint the town. Watch your weight. Let it be. Say hey. Strike back. Roll a strike. Spare a dime. Rock the boat. Do time. Take a shot. Do your best. Give back. Give a damn. Turn a cheek. Heal the sick. Feed the poor. Hold hands. Make love. Love life. Hug kids. Wave flags. Play taps. Pledge allegiance. Light a candle. Never forget.
And through these ordinary acts of American life, show the bastards they failed.•
Hetrick is chairman and CEO of Hetrick Communications Inc., an Indianapolis-based public relations and marketing communications firm. His column appears twice a month. He can be reached at email@example.com.