Today is the 14th anniversary of the September 11th 2001 tragedy. It is hard to believe it has been that many years since that painful day when so many people died in the terrorist attacks. As I pause to reflect, I clearly recall memories of my life that Tuesday.
I remember that I ran out of the building where I worked on the 9th floor. We were fearful, so we followed our instincts as we responded to the situation. Many fled home to follow the unfolding events on the television. Others stayed, not knowing another way to cope.
I remember automatically driving to the high school to be near my son. The principal stood in the chaos in the main hallway, trying to establish calm. I had no idea what I was going to say to him. These words spilled out “Where do you need me?” He responded “Go to the attendance office to help them deal with the crowd down there.”
I was taken aback by seeing so many frantic parents trying to sign out their children, but I dove in and did what I could to help. As the anxious crowd slowly diminished, the parents looked relieved but their children seemed bewildered. After things settled down, I remember asking someone to go tell my son I was there, and we were safe.
The memory remains clear—the fear and the awe. Fear from the death and destruction and awe from the deep compassion people showed each other that day and many many days that followed. We were overwhelmed by heartbreaking violence, but uplifted by kindness it brought out in so many. We found heart amidst tragedy.