Like every American, I am sure, I remember exactly where I was on September 11, 2001. I was at work , when a client came in and asked "Did you hear that a plane hit one of the towers?" My first reaction was "Oh, those poor people". My heart went out to the people on the plane and their families. I knew that nobody on the plane could have survived and I wondered how many people in the building were injured. I turned on the news to get more information and saw that a second plane struck. Immediately, I knew that this was no accident. I rushed out of my office, jumped in my car and raced to get my son out of daycare. I wanted to pick up my husband from work but the school where he worked at the time was on "Lock Down". Nobody was allowed in or out. As such, I went home with my baby boy to wait. Wait to see what would happen next.
I kept trying to reach my two best friends Chill and Rah Rah,who rode the train to work in Manhattan every day. I knew the route led them right under the towers and I was scared for their safety. For hours I kept trying to reach them. Finally, Chill called me to say that she was alright and was walking over the Brooklyn bridge, towards home because all trains were shut down. There was no word from Rah Rah and I prayed that she was safe.
Around this time, my father called to tell me that my nephew's father, who was a first responder, got called to the towers and has not been heard from. My young nephew watched the horror play out on every channel of the TV, wondering if his father would be coming home that night. He didn't. He died a hero, giving his life saving others.
My cousin worked at the towers and was outside smoking a cigarette when the first plane struck. If she was inside, she would have died, as her office was located on one of the floors impacted by the crash. I bet this is the first time a cigarette has SAVED a persons life.
My friend Rah Rah had borrowed a strangers cell phone and called her mother to let her know she was safe and in the process of making the trek over the Brooklyn bridge. She had been stuck underground in the train for hours, until the authorities led them to safety through the subway tunnels and out to the street. Thank God, she was safe.
For days, a light flurry fell in my neighborhood. It wasn't snow. It was the burning paper from the Twin Towers being carried all the way to Brooklyn on the slight breeze that was blowing. Each flake a reminder of the horror that occurred.
In the days, weeks and months that followed, the only positive thing to come out of this tragedy was the kindness that everyone displayed toward one another. We had patience for one another. We helped total strangers. We were just plain NICER to everyone around us. This attack made us all realize how lucky we were to be alive and how fragile each life is. Although the events of 9/11 remain fresh in our memory, over time we seem to have forgotten the importance of embracing each other with respect and kindness.
On this anniversary, let's honor the memory of all the brave men and woman who lost their lives. Lets honor them by making a commitment to continue being kind to one another, coming to the rescue of strangers, being a blessing to each life we touch.
Love and Blessings to each one of you.