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From Tragedy, Reflection Remembering September 11 I recently visited the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in Manhattan. I listened to the harrowing voicemail recordings some of the 2,977 victims as they left a final message to their loved ones. I walked through the exhibits in that solemn space, remembering the thousands of people that died that day. I stood in front of a fire engine that had been crushed under the rubble of the towers’ collapse. Eleven firefighters rode that truck to ground zero on that fateful day, rushing headlong into danger at the north tower minutes before it collapsed. No one made it out alive. The captain of Ladder Company 3, 48-year-old Patrick Brown, was known throughout the NYFD as a dedicated mentor to younger firefighters, who Stony Brook did not have an audiology program, so I packed up and transferred to the University of Buffalo, and the rest is history. I’m not about to compare myself to the hundreds of brave men and women who put themselves in harm’s way on September 11. However, I am inspired by them. That heartbreaking September morning reminded us all that life is
sought him out from all over the city. I thought about those men and women on that firetruck, so committed to their mission of protecting others that they sacrificed their lives. It made me reflect on my own mission in life, how precious the limited time we have is, and the necessity of using that time to help others. I grew up a conscientious kid, trying to do everything right. I wondered often what my path in life might be. I kept journals, read books on the subject, and spoke with as many mentors and others who I respected as possible. I was anxious about my future. What if I took the wrong courses, took the incorrect path, or declared a major that was wrong for me and “ruined” the rest of my life? Looking back, it’s amusing to think of my acute concern that I would be railroaded into the wrong profession, but at the time, it was all too real. In response, I began to analyze my experiences, working to discover my most prominent talents. It became pretty evident early on that there were some gifts or abilities that I did not possess. Extreme competitiveness or aggressiveness are two of those. Those
precious, and we should use our gifts to express our deepest values in our own way while we can.
traits might have been helpful to me in some situations, like when I was on the East Rockaway Raiders Little League football team, but they just were not part of my personality. But while I may not have been aggressive or competitive, I realized that I was equipped with a keen sense of compassion and a tirelessly creative mind. Early in college, I took a career aptitude test at the counseling office and, lo and behold, it suggested I would be well-suited for a career in speech therapy or — you guessed it — audiology. After investigating audiology, I realized that was a field in which I might be able to use my empathetic personality and innovative spirit to aid others in improving the quality of their communication and quality of life. I was attending Stony Brook University, and I was enrolled in a special interdisciplinary program focused on the topic of human nature in preparation for applying to a doctoral program in clinical psychology. This was a fascinating program that included small group seminars in which I got to know a number of brilliant professors outside of the regular classes they were teaching. However,
– We’re listening to you.®
– Lawrence Cardano, Au.D.
Dr. Larry in front of a firetruck from Ladder Company 3 which
responded on September 11, 2001, and was severely damaged by falling debris.
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