The family was in Salt Lake City for Bob Nelson’s inauguration as the new president of NAIFA – National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. Bob Nelson is my Dad.
And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this? -Esther 4:14b
Dad was not stepping into a royal position, but it sure was an important one, in every sense. He took a breath and stepped up to the stage – not to accept the presidency, that would be the next day, but to address a very full, very anxious, even borderline terrified, room of his family and the best of the best of his profession. I have never seen anyone do something so difficult, and I have never seen something so difficult done so well.
Many NAIFA members had called for the remainder of the meeting to be cancelled. We were blessed to have all of the Nelsons together, but the Finches were all back in Nebraska, and most of the NAIFA members had left their entire families home to attend this week-long annual meeting.
I was as shocky as everyone and only remember bits and pieces of that day. If I find a video or text of Dad’s speech, I will add it here. Dad was wearing a dark navy suit and a red tie. Dad said calming, profound things. Dad almost cried but did not. Dad frowned in a way that I knew as a kid meant business, and did again today, but this time was so very comforting.
I do remember the end of what Dad said. He said, “Call home. Make sure everyone is safe. Turn off the TV for now if you can. If we do not go on, they win. We have our families, we have each other. We will persevere. We will carry on. And…God Bless America.”
It was the longest standing ovation I have ever experienced. We had needed order and stability in a time of chaos. Leadership when we wanted to panic. Hope in the midst of despair. Later, a deep sadness would set in, that has been ingrained into the psyche of all Americans old enough to remember, I suppose.
Dad is in DC now at the annual NAIFA meeting, addressing the same industry leaders, and the same deep hurts, only now ten years later. I am so proud of our country. I am so proud of my Dad.
God Bless America.
Where were you? How has 9/11 affected you?