Where were you on this very day 14 years ago today. I know exactly where I was and what I was doing. Today the United States, and maybe even other countries in the world are remembering this day, remembering the people that died, remembering the terror that griped our country and had many people around the world staring in disbelief at their televisions. September 11, 2011. A day that will never be forgotten. A day that has been burned into our memory like the day Pearl Harbor was attacked, like the day that Kennedy was assassinated. Days of senseless violence. Days of terror, uncertainty and anger.
Today we remember the men and women who died in the Twin Towers, who died in the planes that crashed into them, who selflessly gave their lives in Pennsylvania to prevent the plane they were on from crashing into an unknown location. In all nearly 3000 people lost their lives that day.
We lived on the East Coast at that time. I remember very clearly the stories of tragedy and triumph that filled the news. I remember the stories and faces filled with tears of happiness as loved ones were found alive buried in the rubble of the tower. I remember the pleas and the begging hoping for those that were still unaccounted for to be found. I remember how people said that they were asked for strands of hair from the hairbrush that the missing person used so the ME could do a DNA match. I remember seeing children whose parents had kissed them good bye that morning as they went to work who were now orphans.
Yes, that day was full of pain, but in the midst of all the pain and confusion the day was also full of compassion and heroics. Like the courageous passengers of flight 93 who took action against the terrorists, knowing that they would not survive some were able to call their loved one’s one last time from cell phones. Or like Wells Crowther, a 24-year old equities trader who lost his life helping others escape the burning inferno the towers had become. He was able to climb down the stairs on the 104st floor to the 78th floor where he carried a woman on his back to the 61st floor and then went back to the 78th floor to help another group of people down to the 61st floor.
Not all the heroes were human, some were the four-legged version that truly proved to be man’s best friend that day. There were more than 300 trained search and rescue dogs that were used to find survivors. Genelle Guzman-McMillan was the last survivor who was pulled from the wreckage of the Twin Towers, she was found 27 hours after the crash by one such specially trained dog.
So, today, say “I love you” to those that are important to you. We may have problems, there may be a lot of hate in the world and in this country, but there is also a compassion and tenderness to help our fellow inhabitants of this planet, when the need arises. In case you have not noticed, there are still countries in turmoil, there are still people fighting for their lives against terrorism, fleeing their countries in hopes to save their lives and the lives of their children. Show compassion to those you meet, you do not know where they have come from nor what they have endured to get to where they are right now, today, meeting you.