Remembering 9/11 and why I live in Sandpoint

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My last time in the World Trade Center was going to Windows on the World in 1997. I was in New York to sign my book deal with Hastings House. I decided to visit the Greatest Bar on Earth on the 106th (or was it the 107th) floor with my best friend and attorney, Roy Levine. Roy was there with me to go over the contracts for my book.

I had visited the World Trade Center twice before, once to have dinner at Windows on the World. Being in NY because of my book Passion For Wine, it was a natural for me to go to the restaurant. Kevin Zraly had written one of my favorite small books on wine, the Windows on the World Complete Wine Course, and I wanted that to be one of my stops while in the city. We had been having quite the time in New York, and the night before we had gone to the Blue Note, and thoroughly enjoyed the show by Frank Sinatra, Jr.

Walking up to the floor-to-ceiling glass had always made me dizzy. The unobscured view was crazy, and there were no rails to make one feel more secure. See, I’m not too hip with heights, and for me, the first time going to the World Trade Center had been an exercise in facing my fear of heights. That journey to New York had many trips to tall places: The World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty. While many find detractions with New York, I love it.

Years later, while getting ready for a day-trip to Yosemite with my beloved Samoyed Chardonnay, I, like the rest of the world, watched in horror as the twin towers were attacked and came crashing down.

That day, walking the meadows of Yosemite with my dog, crying the entire day, I decided to find a place I love and live there.

My ex was being recruited heavily by companies that wanted to move her to Albany or San Antonio or Wisconsin: all places I did not want to live in. So, I sent her resume off to Coldwater Creek. See, I did want to live in Sandpoint. Again, years later, when she wanted to move away from Sandpoint, I came to the realization that perhaps we were not meant for each other. In essence, I chose Sandpoint once again.

9/11 made me realize that being where we want to be and who we want to be with is important; more important than we often allow ourselves to believe.

Today I remember that 9/11 helped me to make decisions in my life, for better or worse. I grieve for those that fell. In my grieving, I remember all those who have fallen in defense of our country. I remember my brothers and sisters from my days in the Army. I remember my brothers and sisters from my days as an Airman.

I know that day brought us together as a country. It made many of us take into account of what is important in life.

For me, there is no better place than Sandpoint, Idaho. I do not celebrate this day, but I know that the events that happened on September 11, 2001 made me choose the best place on earth to be.

Please take time to reflect on what is important to you today. Give thanks for those in your life you cherish. Honor the fallen, but not only those that died in the attacks, but also our fallen heroes: our firemen, soldiers, law enforcement officers who have died protecting us. Let us all have the ideal that fighting for the right to live and be who we can be in this great country is worth sacrifice, and that ideal should never be given away.

Never forget. Never surrender.


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Gary Lirette

Business & Investing in the Inland Northwest
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