I was four months out of college and five weeks beyond my father’s passing, working on the sales team for the beverage distributor I’d worked at during my college summer breaks. I was at the Augusta Walmart with a guy named Eric, we were waiting on a delivery so we could set up some large beer display. The truck normally got to that store around 8 a.m. but they were late that day.

Eric went outside to smoke a cigarette in his car when the truck finally pulled in. As we began to build the display Eric said “It’s totally wild, I was listening on the radio and the DJ said a plane went off track and hit one of the Twin Towers.” I assumed some mechanical malfunction and thought about how the Towers weren’t that close to LaGuardia or JFK. By the time we’d finished setting up the display we received simultaneous pages: “Management will be coming to help everyone finish their delivery routes- check in ASAP.”

20 years ago.

It’s known as a flashbulb moment — researchers actually study these — and each generation seems to have at least three that resound with them. For my grandparents it’s Pearl Harbor, VE Day and color TV; for my parents, JFK, MLK Jr. and Nixon; for me, it’s Challenger explosion, OJ verdict and 9/11. Depending on the individual, you likely have a few more- but the point is this- some events are so influential they cross all lines of race, sex, gender or political affiliation- Sept. 11, 2001, is one of those.

Ask anyone over the age of 25 where they were, and they will know, that’s what makes it a flashbulb moment. This Saturday marks 20 years, and to do my job as the Chamber director I need to tell you about two events happening that day- but then I want to get back to this question of “Where were you on Sept. 11?” because there is a point to this, I promise.

First, the Brunswick Downtown Association’s Community BBQ is being held in conjunction with American Legion Post #20 on the downtown Brunswick Mall. There will be a 9/11 remembrance ceremony from 10-11 a.m., followed by music, food and police/fire truck tours beginning at 11:30 a.m. This year the meal is free, thanks to the sponsors highlighted in this column last week.

Also on Saturday, Bowdoinham is having an all-day community celebration called Celebrate Bowdoinham Along the Cathance River. The day is loaded with activities all happening near or on Mailly Waterfront Park including the Farmer’s Market (opening at 8:30 a.m., as normal), parade (10 a.m.), zucchini races (11:30 a.m.), lobster crate races (1:30 p.m.), KenDucky Derby (3:30 p.m.) and the fireworks (8 p.m.). They will also have a half-dozen musical acts, beginning just before 11 a.m. with the playing of the national anthem. Find out more at Bowdoinham.com/celebrate-bowdoinham

These two community celebrations on this special date should bring out lots of families It should bring together people regardless of race, sex, gender or political affiliation, in a celebration that reminds us that more brings us together than separates us. That brings me back to my point.

9/11 changed us. That day tore a hole in our country, and together we came together to show the strength of our collective nation. Together we got through it, tempered by the fire we became a little stronger than we were.

In the two decades since, that collectiveness has been chipped away. Little by little, cracks began to show. The cracks became crevices, and though we can’t put are finger on the exact moment of separation, we have become divided. Divided along lines of race, sex, gender and political affiliation. All of those things that didn’t matter in the wake of 9/11 now dominate how we communicate, what we listen to, the programs we watch and how we speak of others both online and in person.

There has been a loss of common ground. Maybe this week we can start to regain that.

I encourage you to ask those in your life, where they were on September 11. And listen, actually listen. I guarantee you will find something out about those around you that you didn’t know. You may find a shared truth with some co-worker you barely relate to on any other level. You’ll also find those who don’t want to talk about it, and in that reservation, you will know them better, too. In that shared history, we find common ground- and from there we can move forward

Because when I look back 20 years, I can’t help but look forward too. What will we look like two decades from now? The Baby Boomers will be retired. Will the world still be on fire? How many refugees will be displaced from their homes due to climate change or war? Will we still have wars, and if so, will those wars be fought by people or machines exclusively? Will we still have colleges, or will it be job-training centers? Will we still use paper currency? Will artificial intelligence run our lives? Will we be dominated by virtual reality?

That may sound ridiculous, but 20 years ago, this current 15-year chamber director and married father, didn’t write a weekly column, because he was setting up beer displays when he got a message on his pager to go to the payphone and call the office. I didn’t know how every friend I’ve ever known felt because we were connected solely by landline phones, as it was pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter, pre-Myspace, six years before the iPhone and two years before the Blackberry.

The world can change dramatically in 20 years — and if we’re going to navigate the massive change ahead, we can’t do it alone — we need to come together again. It begins when we can find common ground. Maybe, this weekend, through our shared history, we can remember what it feels like to be one community again.

Cory King is the executive director of the Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber.

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