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A September 11 Story from the Lighting Industry

I heard a really great story tonight.  It’s really hard to find a “good” story that has to do with September 11, 2001 — but I had dinner with a bunch of great folks tonight, and being that it’s September 11, it seemed appropriate.  It’s pretty weird to be sitting in another country on possibly one of the worst days in America’s history watching a different country play TV shows about the terrible day that was 9-11-01.  It’s also pretty eye-opening to be watching shows in a country that has considerably less anal attitudes towards what they show on television; talk about eye-opening.

So on September 11, 2001, many people were at the PLASA 2001 Show at Earl’s Court in London – afternoon was in full swing when 8am came and the planes started smashing into the World Trade Center.  News started passing around the show floor about what had happened, and the hubbub of the disaster began to make its rounds.  Across the show floor things continued, except for in one booth – High End Systems.  John Wiseman, the once Vice President of Worldwide Sales decided that HES wouldn’t be selling anything else that day while people in America were dying.  As I heard the story, the paraphrased John Wiseman said something along the lines of let’s shut it down for today, we’re going back to the hotel, no more for today.  One by one, following the High End Systems example, booths shut down one at a time.  I don’t know how many, but really who cares how many.

A year later on the first anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York City, people were back at Earl’s Court in London for the PLASA 2002 Show.  It had been decided that a minute of silence would be held to commemorate those killed and lost on 9-11 during the PLASA show.  Brad Schiller from High End Systems at the time decided that, since we work in lighting and our silence is darkness, that HES would shut down the light and go dark to commemorate the moment.  Again, many booths followed suit, some did not, but it doesn’t really matter who didn’t — only that people followed Brad’s example and blacked out their lighting and sound to remember the dead and hurt.

As I go to these shows across the world, I am always remembered that we have one of the most awesome industries in all of the world, full of the world’s most amazing people.

To all of those killed, hurt, or heart broken on September 11, 2001 — this moment of silence is for you from JimOnLight.com.