Friday, September 9, 2011

I am not Rudy Giuliani

Insert story about where I was, what I was doing, or how I felt on 9/11/01.

Unless I was in one of the twin towers, Rudy Giuliani, or even in Manhattan; my story is essentially the same as everyone else's. We were all glued to the tv, watching the news, speculating how and why this happened, would we be going to war, and please, God, please, let this event be the last one.

It was an awful day, a day that could only have been planned by the devil himself and vomited up from hell. But as I sit back and watch the stories on the news of people recounting what happened that day I find myself switching between tears of unbelievable sadness and unbelievable pride. The big stories get to me like that of Flight 93 and the firefighters who defined what it meant to be a hero that day. But it's the little one's that give me hope. Here are a few of my favorite:

Rick Rescorla was  Vice President of Security for Morgan Stanley. For years he had been preparing for what he viewed as the WTC's only weakness, a terrorist attack from the skies. Every three months he made all of his employees practice fire drills. Of Morgan Stanley's 2700 employees that were in WTC 2 on the morning of September 11th, only 3 died (2 of those were Rick himself and his assistant Wes Mercer). He was seen evacuating people on the 72nd floor and refused to leave until he got everyone out.

The FAA issued an order that all planes were to be grounded on 9/11. I remember hearing about this and thought it was as simple as parking a car. Little did I know that there were over 5000 planes in the air at that time. All of these flights had to be redirected and landed and it was done within 3 hours. This was a feat that had never been done before and had never been practiced. The air traffic controllers played an enormous role in keeping God knows how many people safe that day. Not only were they integral in landing the planes but one of the hijacked planes came within feet of a mid air crash with another plane, but this travesty was diverted by one controller.

The passengers of Flight 93 were without a doubt living saints, but something that I find equally saint-like was the reaction of their loved ones. Many of the passengers called their spouses, parents, or others to let them know what had happened. Can you imagine watching 3 hijacked planes be flown into buildings and then getting a call from your spouse or child and being informed that they too were on a hijacked plane? I know I would selfishly want to spare them of any anxiety in what would likely be their last minutes on earth and keep them ignorant of what was going on in the world, saying things like 'Everything's going to be okay.' But instead these people were brave enough to share the horrific details of the day so that more devastation could be avoided.

These are just a few of the stories that inspire me. Feel free to share any stories you have. I would love to hear it.

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