Continuing to honor the victims and heroes of 9/11 — 20 years later

By John Bau, director of career development September 08, 2021

John Bau, Director of Career Development for the School of Engineering at Quinnipiac University.

I moved to Connecticut just before 9/11. Being this close to NYC made it even more harrowing — I had friends and family in the city, I knew people who lost people.

I recall an overwhelming feeling of wanting to help, to do something in the wake of the attacks. As chance would have it, there was a blood drive at my employer the following week and it was packed with folks who felt the same way I did — we all just wanted to do something, anything we could to be a force for good.  So my colleagues and I gave blood.

As time passed, national unity faded and political infighting began anew, I just kept up my blood donations. At each drive, they’d have you sign up for the next one. As I changed employers, I found the new blood drive sites in conference rooms, community centers, hotel ballrooms, student unions, church basements, wherever. Paper sign-ups went online, and now via an app on my phone. 

And I still give blood regularly. I’m literally gallons into my donation history these days. I don’t really talk about it, I just do it. Through several job changes, divorce, remarrying, the birth of two children, deaths of family members, through the pandemic and continuing to today — it is a constant in my life.

We collectively remember tragedies and world events at prescribed intervals; but each time I give blood, I recall how it felt in September 2001 to want to help. So in my quiet little way, about every other month or so, I try to do my part. That desire to do something, anything to continue to be a force for good has remained with me. And at each donation, I remember what sent me there in the first place.

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