I am very excited to share this week’s guest blog with you guys! When I saw Thunder Dog, I knew, just KNEW that I had to have Michael on my blog. I just finished his book yesterday and it is AMAZING. What’s even more awesome, is I have a hardcover copy to give away at the end of this post! All of this was just so fun to put together and I have to thank Michael and Jason Jones from Thomas Nelson for making this happen for me and my readers. I really hope you all pick up a copy of Michael’s book in any format. It’s out in print, audio and e-book and truly is an amazing story. It also gives a lot of insight into what it’s like for a blind person. I’ll go into more depth in my review that will be posted today but for now, here is Michael’s blog post. Please be sure to click the like and tweet ( if you have twitter ) buttons if you’d like to share this post.
LESSONS OF 9-11, WHAT ARE WE LEARNING?
Ten years ago today, September 11, 2001 I arrived at my office on the 78th floor of Tower One of the World Trade Center ready to give four training seminars to eager people who wanted to sell my company’s products to their customers. Everything changed at 8:46 that morning. The training seminars never took place. Early arrivals made it out of our office and down the stairs to safety partly because my guide dog, Roselle, kept her cool and showed me that we could attempt to escape safely.
After our guests started down the stairs a colleague, David Frank, Roselle, and I descended and exited Tower One only to then find ourselves 100 yards away from Tower Two when it collapsed. For a second time my life was in danger, now from a 400-yard tall building coming down almost right next to us. We all ran. We got caught in the dust cloud. By the grace of God we escaped and are here to talk about that day as I now do in my newly released book, Thunder Dog, co-authored by Susy Flory.
As I reflect back on the last ten years I think about how many times since the terrorist attacks I discussed the lessons offered to us. We were shown teamwork in action on many levels from the terrorists themselves to the many people who worked together on 9-11 and afterward to save and help so many lives. During the many keynote speeches I give each year I talk about trust and how it is under attack in our nation, but how trust is needed more than ever.
I am amazed at how unified our country was after 9-11 and how fractured it is today and I wonder how could we have strayed so far off our path of love, support, and teamwork. How have we allowed our “leaders” to become mired in bickering and infighting to the extent that they do not even talk about the issues and challenges we face as a nation? Sure, jobs, or the lack of them, are an issue we must address. Sure Social Security and Medicare need to be overhauled. However, all the politicians do is talk and never suggest or put in place real solutions. Our bosses at our jobs would never let us get away with such. Why are we so apathetic about the issues that we permit those WE put in office to not do their jobs and lead so poorly?
Even more important, we are still fighting several wars although one appears to be winding down. During World War II the media spoke volumes about supporting our troops overseas. We at home were constantly being asked to purchase “War Bonds”, (later called Savings Bonds), which Americans were proud to buy so that they could help support our people doing the actual fighting. I never hear candidates talk about the troops. We all seem to pretend that the fight will never come to us, at least never again we hope. The fact is that we are in the most dangerous war of our young country’s life. Our leaders are making that war part of the same political football as everything else and we permit it.
If 9-11 teaches us anything it should be that we individually have to become involved. We need to recognize that compromises need to be made and that what we call “political principle” needs to be measured not by what gets some of us elected, but by how we can unify our peoples and truly make our nation stronger. I think former President Jimmy Carter said it best when he said “we must adjust to changing times while holding to unwavering principles”. Raising or lowering taxes does not come under the purview of “unwavering principles”, it seems to me. Supporting our citizens, especially our troops’ effort is a principle we all can embrace. Being the best country, the strongest one, and creating a strong future by providing the best teaching experience for our young is to me more of what we should be discussing.
I talk about some of the wisdom I learned from Roselle in Thunder Dog. I think it is wisdom we all should consider and put into practice. In closing here is one concept from Roselle we should take to heart:
There’s a time to work and a time to play. Know the difference. When the harness goes on, it’s time to work. Work hard; others are depending on you.
Michael Hingson, national ambassador for the Braille Literacy Campaign, is a miraculous survivor of 9/11. He now owns The Michael Hingson Group, Inc., a consulting firm concerning inclusiveness and diversity and a platform for engaging speaking opportunities. A graduate of the University of California (Irvine) and a cum laude graduate with a master’s degree in physics, Hingson has never let blindness stop him from achieving his goals. His life is a testimony to the power of trust, perseverance, and the amazing bond between humans and animals. Michael and his wife, Karen, live in the San Francisco Bay Area with three yellow lab guide dogs, Roselle (ret.), Africa, and Fantasia, and one cat, Sherlock.
Synopsis: A blind man and his guide dog show the power of trust and courage in the midst of devastating terror.
It was 12:30 a.m. on 9/11 and Roselle whimpered at Michael’s bedside. A thunderstorm was headed east, and she could sense the distant rumbles while her owners slept. As a trained guide dog, when she was “on the clock” nothing could faze her. But that morning, without her harness, she was free to be scared, and she nudged Michael’s hand with her wet nose as it draped over the bedside toward the floor. She needed him to wake up.
With a busy day of meetings and an important presentation ahead, Michael slumped out of bed, headed to his home office, and started chipping away at his daunting workload. Roselle, shivering, took her normal spot at his feet and rode out the storm while he typed. By all indications it was going to be a normal day. A busy day, but normal nonetheless. Until they went into the office.
In Thunder Dog, follow Michael and his guide dog, Roselle, as their lives are changed forever by two explosions and 1,463 stairs. When the first plane struck Tower One, an enormous boom, frightening sounds, and muffled voices swept through Michael’s office while shards of glass and burning scraps of paper fell outside the windows.
But in this harrowing story of trust and courage, discover how blindness and a bond between dog and man saved lives and brought hope during one of America’s darkest days.
Thanks to Michael’s publisher, I have ONE copy of Thunder Dog to give away to a lucky reader. Please note that this is a hardcover!! All you have to do is comment to enter and a winner will be picked on Monday at 5 PM Eastern time by random.org. Good luck! US Entries ONLY! I can’t afford to ship it overseas. I’m sorry!