Sept. 11th - Just One Story
On the fifth anniversary of September 11th, I wonder how many people are looking back on this day remembering just one story that personally touched them. As a New Yorker, I don't know anyone who lives in our area who didn't know at least one person who died that day. Many were acquaintances, but most were friends, mothers or fathers, brothers or sisters, husbands or wives, sons or daugthers, employees of the hundreds of companies which housed their offices in the World Trade Center or the restaurant known as Windows on the World, firefighters, police officers, EMT workers and one priest who wasn't afraid to reach out and lend a helping hand that day. My story is not unlike anyone else's who knew people who had loved ones there. At the time I was working for my public school district as a substitute. My day started like any other, getting ready for my assignment. However, the images on the television were like none I had ever seen and are burned in my memories for the rest of my life. I experienced shock and disbelief like everyone else I came in contact with that day. It became personal to me when I received an e-mail from a friend whose husband was among the missing asking for prayers and any support we could give her. The very next day, at a prayer service, I came in contact with another woman who also had a husband among the missing. Neither women knew each other and neither women would have probably never crossed paths, except for what happened on 9/11. Both had husbands who worked for the same company. Both had husbands who worked in the same department of that company. Both had husbands who had met each other, spoken to each other and probably would have become friends had it not been for 9/11. Both women had young children, all girls and both would come to bond with each other through a series of phone calls that began with me when I made the connection that they both had husbands who worked for the same company. Neither would have the good fortune of ever seeing their loved ones again. There would be frantic searches through the internet and even phone calls to any surviving employees, one of which I made to a young woman who wasn't scheduled to go to work that day and, as a result, lost many of her friends and co-workers. Both had memorial services that were both touching and tearful. Both had funerals after police detectives notified them of the discovery of their husbands' remains. Both have gone on to raise their children and to try and go on with their own lives. Both have learned to laugh and smile again and enjoy life on some level, but neither will ever forget and neither should we.