Let us never forget.
As we contemplate and reflect on the 20th year since everything in America shifted (and in the world too). Our relationship to freedom was forever changed, as was our ability to move around in our own communities, take a flight, traverse an airport or even the way we respond when we hear certain loud sounds overhead.
For our clan and for the families of thousands of others, there were other shifts. While my sister Toni’s life was spared that day, she changed. How could she not? Toni has worked for the Port Authority for over 30 years and she was there the day of the first bombing in 1993. Who would imagine she’d be turned away at the elevator in Tower 1 by a Port Authority Police Officer on September 11th, as that day she was late to work. We no longer bother her about being tardy - frankly, we applaud her lateness!
I was living in the Bay Area then, heading to my normal Tuesday tennis match and was riveted when my other sister Tracy called and said “are you watching GMA - a plane just hit the WTC and I can’t reach Toni.” From that moment on, we spent the next 6 hours trying desperately to reach her - to no avail since cell phones were not connecting. Finally she reached us and said “I don’t know where I am - I’ve just been walking since I ran from the building.” Then the call dropped. At least we knew she was alive - not alright, but alive. We were grateful for that snippet. It would be another 6 hours before she’d finally board a random van to get across the Hudson River back home to Jersey. I say “random van” but there really wasn’t anything random about it. The “random” ways in which we SAW one another in brand new ways was special. Total strangers were kinder to one another, made eye contact with warmth and compassion and emotional intelligence took on a whole new meaning. The elevation of our humanity was one of many incredible silver linings that emerged on September 12th, some of which continue today.
Pray for hope, for peace and more kindness internally and to those around us. May we never forget.