Today  Quicken Loans CEO Bill Emerson sent out an email to all team members of the Quicken Loans family of companies about his remembrance of the tragedy of 9/11.

It touched me and I hope it has the same affect on you.

I figured it was a good idea to share with you here on the Quicken Loan blog.

It doesn’t need an intro, though I wish I could say more.

But I think his email says it all.

Here it is.

To all my brothers and sisters who call this great land we live in America,

This past Sunday September 4th was Our daughter Nicole’s 10th birthday and as I was reflecting on her 10 years on this earth and thinking about how much she has grown and freaking out about how quickly the last 10 years had flown by, it hit me that it had also been 10 years since the tragedy of 9/11.

I started remembering that day and instantly remembered  exactly where I was when the 2nd plane hit the south tower.  I’m sure most of you remember where you were as well.

As I was sitting with my wife and kids on the couch thinking, a story came on ESPN.  I wasn’t really paying attention until I heard “9/11” in the piece and then I tuned in.

The story was about a young man named Welles Crowther and his red bandana.  Many of you may have heard the story over the past week as it has been in the media quite a bit but the story touched me in such a way that I thought I would share it with you anyway.

Welles had been given 2 handkerchiefs by his dad when he was just a young boy.  A white one (for show) and a red one (to blow with).  He instantly loved the red one and started carrying it with him everywhere.  It became his symbol.

He wore it riding his bike.  He wore it playing hockey.  He wore it playing lacrosse and he wore it all the time as a young high school student when he decided to become a volunteer firefighter in his home town.

After high school, Welles went on to Boston College where he continued to wear his red bandana everywhere.  When he graduated from college he wanted to work on Wall Street so he pursued that dream and ended up working for a firm that was housed in the south tower of the World Trade Center.

Welles was in the south tower on 9/11 when the 2nd plane crashed into it.

At the end of the day and with no word from Welles, his mom just felt that Welles didn’t make it out.  She had no way to truly know.  Sometime after that, an account from a survivor of the south tower was printed in a newspaper.   She referenced a young man who was wearing a red bandana who had found her and taken her to the stairwell and showed her the way down.

When his mom saw that account she knew it was Welles and she knew what he had done.  More accounts started to come in about this young man with the red bandana.  Welles has since been credited with saving at least 12 people and as many as 18 people on that fateful day.

Welles could have easily just walked down the stairs and saved himself but he didn’t.  His fire fighting training kicked in and he worked to save as many people as he could.  He was trying to save people as the south tower collapsed.  He paid the ultimate sacrifice to save others.  He was a true hero.

As the tears rolled down my face watching this story, it made me even more proud to live in this country.

There were so many heroes on that tragic day.  Most of the focus was on what happened in New York but we can’t forget the others who weren’t in New York that day.  The people on United flight 93 who forced their way into the cockpit of the plane forcing it to crash in a field in Pennsylvania saving countless other lives, and the many other stories we never heard.

A day that started in tragedy as attackers tried to scare us and use their cowardice against us turned into a day when the true spirit of Americans came shining through.  The will and desire to help and serve.

Today is a day we must remember and a day when we must hold those dear to us just a little closer.  A day when we tell the ones we love just how much we really love them and a day when we recommit to being the best we can be.

Sometimes we just don’t know what we are capable of until we are put to the test.

Your capacity as a human being is unbounded.  As a tribute to those who paid the ultimate price that day, let’s commit to living our lives to the fullest and being the very best we can be.  It’s a choice to make that happen and one that is well worth the effort when we give it.

Today, as we raise our red, white and blue, we honor the heroes, the victims, and those who bravely fight for our freedom every day.

Thank you all for your dedication and commitment.

May you all be blessed.

Strength and honor,

Bill

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