September 11 already 15 years in the past. As we all do I remember exactly where I was that tragic morning. I was on the east coast and watched the horror unfold on the TV. My best friend worked at World Financial. I immediately shot off an email asking where she was and if she was safe.
She had a meeting with her team that morning at the World Trade Center. The meeting room she had booked was on the 103rd floor of the south tower.
As I waited for a reply to my email I stood in front of the tv, I couldn’t bring myself to sit. When the second plane hit there was no doubt anymore this was not an accident.
In one of those unexplained life events when my friend went to check into their meeting room that morning she was told there had been a double booking and would she mind using a meeting room on the 3rd floor. That mix-up would save the lives of her and her team.
Announcements came over the speaker system for everyone to stay put that all was under control. She could feel the building shake, the announcements to stay put continued. Thankfully she decided to ignore the messages and told her team “we are getting out of here”.
I saw a reply message from her telling me she had exited the building. She told me she saw people jumping out of the building, she saw others engulfed in flames.
Although it took her over 6 hours to find her way home in New Jersey she was one of the lucky ones that made it out that day.
When I flew up to see her and we went into New York the smell in the air even weeks later I will never forget. It was several years before she could bring herself to work on that day.
Every year I think of all that she would have missed if her meeting was in the originally scheduled 103rd floor. Her daughters engagement and wedding. Supporting her sisters fight with a rare form of cancer. The trips we took together, all the great nieces and nephews born. Family weddings, Holidays and all the just normal day to day of life that we don’t always notice and cherish in the moment.
I’m grateful every day that I didn’t lose my friend. It reminds me how life can be fleeting and it is up to us that honor all those who have passed so tragically to live our lives fully. That is how we honor them, live well, live with integrity and most of all live in kindness.
To all of those who lost their lives that day and all who loved them.
We will never forget.