I was following my regular routine that morning, eight years ago. Watching something on television while I walked on the treadmill before going to work. The phone rang, and it was my husband. He said he was okay, that a plane had hit a building close by, and he didn't want me to worry. Hmmm - better turn on the news while I walk on the treadmill.
Next call - he's been evacuated - had to leave everything in the hotel room and start walking. It was a big plane that hit the World Trade Center. Uh-oh, another plane hit! Next call was from his office. His boss saying he had been in contact with him, he is okay, but was being evacuated. He said his hotel was across the street and a hundred feet from the WTC. Just as he said that I watched on TV as the first tower came crashing down. HOW FAR DID YOU SAY HE WAS FROM THAT BUILDING?
We all know the rest of the story.
My husband, and his fellow employees walked up Madison Avenue, without purses, laptops, clothes. Without a place to sleep, without medications. But people they knew that lived in NYC rallied. They ended up finding a room at what turned out to be a very posh hotel. They were able to find some clothes, food, alcohol. Lots of alcohol. American Express was able to get my husband's medication, and their boss was able to eventually get them home by flying them out of New Jersey, at a time when no planes were flying. My husband calls him on this anniversary every year to thank him.
It took six months to get his things from that hotel across the street where so many innocent lives were lost. He had to sign a release stating he would not hold the hotel responsible for what may be on and in his things. He signed the release.
The evil perpetrated on that day will never be forgotten. Not by me, my husband, our family, or our country. Never.
But my hope is that we will eventually see that hating will never change the world. And we so need to change the world. Maybe, one day we will all realize that we are One. When we harm another, we are really harming ourselves. That violence begets violence, but so does empathy, love, kindness, and generosity. We have a choice.