In years to come, there’s no doubt in my mind that people will remember what they were doing when they heard about the terrorist attacks on September 11, in the same way many remember where they were when they heard President Kennedy was assassinated, or when they heard Pearl Harbor was bombed. It was a defining moment in our lives.

We’ve all been grappling with the question, “What do we do now?” Many things that were important before now seem trivial. But life goes on. The sun comes up and the sun goes down, and we still need to work in order to make money for our families. We also need to maintain some semblance of normalcy in our lives, especially if there are children to tend to. And that’s just hard sometimes.

But based on the results of a poll we recently took on our website, News’ readers are ready to get back to business as usual. Our question asked whether or not the recent terrorist attacks would change whether or not you would attend the annual AHR Expo and ASHRAE Winter Meeting held in Atlantic City, NJ. The vast majority said, “Absolutely not.”

In fact, readers came up with some pretty colorful language to describe the terrorists — most of it cannot be repeated here. (Editor’s note: Expletives deleted.) It made me smile, though, to see the resilience of this industry and the wonderful sense of humor that many have retained. One of the tamer comments came from a contractor in Santee, CA, who said he’s still going to the Expo because “I’m not going into a cave like Bin Laden.”

But even while one contractor from Watseka, IL, noted that “I’m hoping more people will get out of their houses and start living again. Besides that, the AHR Expo is always a blast,” another contractor from Poway, CA, stated that he’s not going because, “There’s too much risk. Travel and bio attacks, especially in NJ. This is the first time I have missed ASHRAE since 1984.”

There are probably many who feel the same way as that latter contractor, but the Expo marks an important turning point: It’s time to get out and have fun again. The Expo provides a great opportunity to network, see the latest technologies, and just enjoy yourself.

As one manufacturer stated, “I feel security is probably better than it may have been before the attack. Also, I have traveled since the attack and have seen the stepped-up security at the airports and in the cities I have visited. We all need to be more cautious, but we certainly shouldn’t stop taking care of business.”

The Expo is a great place to take care of business. And it’s a good place to remember how to have a great time.

Publication date: 01/01/2002