Remembering and Reflecting on 9/11
The memories of that day still hit home in Sudbury.
No one will ever forget where they were that morning. I was alone in my Atlanta hotel room and running late for a meeting. The TV was on and Matt Lauer reported it. He was in shock. I wasn’t sure what to think, except that this was such an awful accident, and I was late and I needed to get downstairs.
And then the second plane hit. Did that just happen? I remember being in the elevator and wondering if what I had just seen on TV was real. I walked in to the huge ballroom and the people from the NCAA were talking, as if nothing was different. No one knew.
I sat down next to my colleague and told him what I just saw. He asked if I were certain. I walked out of the room and heard every phone ringing. It was true.
Within minutes, the large screen that only seconds before boasted a PowerPoint of something related to the value of NCAA sponsorships was now delivering the live CNN feed.
What just happened? Where are my two NY sisters and how close are their respective offices to the World Trade Center? Where are all of my friends in NY? Someone I know had to have been in the towers.
A million emotions, a million questions, and I felt like I was a million miles away from home. I just wanted to get home. Everyone just wanted to get themselves, and their loved ones, home.
When I was thinking about what to write for this week’s “Real Estate Reality,” I thought about the article I wrote in December that reflected upon our town mourning the loss of our own hero, Scott Milley. The emotions, the sadness, the disbelief, the wounds – so raw.
Whether we knew any of the 2,975 people who were murdered 10 years ago, or whether we knew Scott Milley, our hearts ache and our tears stream for our town, our country and for all of those who lost someone who will never come home.
For my weekly "Real Estate Reality" column, I traditionally write what I hope to be informational, entertaining and refreshing articles about real estate — about the transactions, about the market, about pricing, staging, and much more. This week is about what real estate really is. At the risk of sounding a bit Jerry Maguiresque, residential real estate is about your home.
Real estate is about where you live, where you love, where you laugh, where you cry, where you entertain, where you go – it's about where you truly, authentically live. It's about where you can be yourself without judgment. It's about where you can do what you want to do with the people you love. Your home is just as much about your community.
It's where your friends live, it's where your children go to school, it's where you spend your days, it's where you serve, it's where you hope to make a difference, it is where, when tragedy strikes, you mourn.
The importance of selecting a community is the most vital characteristic I emphasize to buyers looking to purchase their new home. So often, people only consider the features of their ideal house, the structure – how many bedrooms they need, how many bathrooms, the size of the yard, the aesthetics – the updated kitchen, bathrooms, moldings, and the look of the houses around them. Although the features of a house are very important and contribute to the monetary value of the house, the highest priority should be the community in which the house is located.
What difference does it make about your great house if you don't like your neighbors, the teachers in your children's school, the places of worship, the personality of the town and you have no interest in getting involved with the community?
It's the intangible that is invaluable. Sudbury has always had a big heart. There is something very special about our little town. In addition to the top-notch education Sudbury provides and the amount of land one will be able to buy, Sudbury is more about the people who live here. Sudbury residents don't just talk about community, we show it.
The schools all have very active PTOs. The Sudbury Angels are a completely volunteer based group that just wants to be there for Sudbury families in crisis. The Sudbury Family Network is an organization with a sole purpose to bring parents of young children together, to bring children together. The Sudbury Newcomers Club is an organization whose sole purpose is to introduce people in the community and to foster friendships. Sudbury Park and Recreation's purpose is about developing programs that benefit the people within the community. The Sudbury Senior Center provides social, recreational, and educational activities for Sudbury seniors.
In Sudbury, you can be known by everyone or you could quietly mind your own business - with kind respect from your neighbors.
Sudbury is all about community.
And now, Sudbury is in tears. First Lt. Scott Milley will be a name that no one in our town will ever forget. For the past two weeks, we hung ribbons and flags with purpose. We stood in emotional anticipation with our hands on our hearts for the motorcade to slowly drive down Concord Road. We hugged those standing near us. We stopped racing around to think about what the Milley family is experiencing. We were just a little nicer to everyone. The Milley family will be a family our town will always take care of. It is estimated that over 10,000 people lined the streets between Hanscom Air Force Base and Duckett Funeral Home to wholeheartedly show their love, compassion and respect to the Milley family.
More than 2,500 people waited in line at Lincoln-Sudbury to hug the Milley family and express their condolences, and countless others waited for hours but sadly had to leave the line to go back to work or to pick up their own children.
More than 1,500 people spent Saturday morning at Scott's funeral, listening with heartache to his family talk about this person we all lost. We did this to express our appreciation for what our true fallen hero Scott decided to do when he joined the Army, to thank his parents for raising such an incredible son and to thank his siblings for being such an amazing brother and sister to him.
To be a person wanting to fight for our country, he had to be a completely unselfish, compassionate, patriotic person. A person we all wish we knew and a person for whom we grieve. Scott's desire to protect his country was likely fed by the love that he had for our country, for the people of the United States of America and of course, to his hometown community of Sudbury, Mass.
Since we all heard the devastating news about Lt. Milley, I have heard people in Sudbury talk about how sad they are and how proud they are of Sudbury. How proud they are to live in a town that demonstrates such support for a member of our own community.
I heard from so many people from all over the country and in Massachusetts about how amazing our town is, and how they may not imagine their own town reacting the same way. This was an awful way to be reassured that you live in a genuine community, full of loving, caring and good people. But if you didn't know how wonderful our town was before, now you do.
To the Milley family, we will never forget you and your son, our true hero, Scott. We are here for you, always. To the veterans living in Sudbury, and the countless servicemen and women who dedicate their lives making our community the place we are proud to call home, we can't thank you enough.