Steven Paradise: Do Something To Remember

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With the 20th anniversary of 9/11 coming up, Steven Paradise shares his thoughts on how to mark the occasion.

Around September 11 each year, I see a lot of Facebook posts saying, "Never forget". But I'd rather see posts that say, "Here's how I remember."

In the days after 9/11, people lined up in droves to donate blood. Something struck me, and I wondered where all those donors would be eight weeks later, when they were eligible to donate again. I resolved to become a regular blood donor.

That was a nice idea, and I tried – and repeatedly failed. Either my blood pressure was too low, or my hemoglobin was too low, or I got woozy just from the finger prick. But I kept trying. And the first time I successfully donated, I nearly passed out. But I learned how to prepare myself to donate, and what to do during donations and afterwards. And I became a regular blood donor, thinking about 9/11 every time.

As we had kids, scheduling became harder, and I got out of the habit. But when COVID-19 shut everything down, I knew that this crisis would change life even more than 9/11, and my resolve was renewed. Fewer blood drives and reduced capacity due to COVID made it harder to schedule appointments, but I’ve donated seven times since March 2020, and recently made my 50th donation with American Red Cross.


I know that not everybody can donate blood, but we can all do something active to honor those who died on 9/11. Last year, my friend Pete challenged people to "Go read some good history. Learn about our past, where we've come from, and how we got here."

My younger friend Samantha said that her generation only knew that something awful had happened, but didn’t know details because parents and teachers found it too painful to talk about with children. So we can challenge ourselves to discuss difficult things with our children, family, and others.

"Never forget" is wonderful. But "Do something to remember" is even better.

With a Perspective, I’m Steven Paradise.

Steven Paradise lives with his wife and four children in Livermore.