Insurance Academy

I remember that day 18 years ago

By | September 11, 2019

It’s been 18 years.

18 years since another layer of innocence was stripped away from our collective consciousness.

I wanted to write about going back to school this week, but I feel compelled to remember a day that is seared into my mind. A day before my insurance career. A day before I became a blogger, educator, and insurance nerd.

It was a day kind of like today. I had things to do. My wife and sons were at home and I was headed to the DMV to take a CDL (Commercial Drivers License) test. I failed that test miserably. I think I only passed the air-brakes portion of the test. While I was taking the test, people were talking about airplanes and the World Trade Center. I thought they were nuts, but I had to get out of that office to get to the college. I had a class in about 30 minutes.

It was on the way to school that I heard the news. A commercial airplane hit one of the towers at the World Trade Center. Suddenly, in my mind, I was transported back to less than a year ago, when I would certainly be on alert soon to deploy somewhere in the world to deal with those who would bring war to my homeland. How my car got to the college, I don’t know because my mind was working on getting gear together, making sure my house was in order and how was I going to tell my bride that I had to answer the call again.

Of course, I wasn’t in the Army anymore. I was in college. I was studying theology. I was learning the basics of another sort of life of discipline. That became clear as I returned to school and connected with a few classmates, also veterans. We weren’t sure what would happen next, because all of us were past the age of being called back in, but shouldn’t we go? We didn’t know.

The announcement was made, prayers were offered up, and classes were canceled for the day. Go home. Be with your families and pray that it wasn’t as bad as it felt like it was. So, I did. I would find out later that work would be closed because no one wanted to gather in public places for fear of more attacks. I went home to where the world had not invaded my home yet. My bride, our children, and a friend’s little one were happily singing and learning as only little ones can.

That all ended when I came home. The happy laughter and singing were over as I explained what I was doing home so soon. Replacing them were fear, worry, and the unknown. My wife’s concern was for her family. Could I be recalled to service? Would I volunteer to go back into service? (She knew me all too well.) That day, my sons were introduced to evil. Real live evil. People who intentionally meant to hurt someone else. They wanted to know that they were safe in our little apartment in Florida.

In the end, I stayed. I finished school. I started the work that my heart and my degree called out to me to do. I also started a career in insurance. Over the years, I learned about the insurance impact that that day had. I learned about the lawsuits. I learned about the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program (and laws that followed). But more than that, I met people who had lived through that day, but who also had friends, family, and peers that didn’t.

Is this really about insurance? I guess not. I tried to come up with some tangential reason to make it insurance related, but I couldn’t. I just felt compelled to remember that day. Maybe that’s because it’s the last time I remember the country coming together to tell a common story. Maybe it’s just because the older I get, the more time I spend travelling back in my memory.

Maybe it’s just worth taking the time to remember some moments in our lives.

About Patrick Wraight

Patrick Wraight, CIC, CRM, AU, is director of Insurance Journal's Academy of Insurance. He can be reached at

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