About Being Human-9/11 Tribute

This has nothing to do with celiac disease or living gluten free.

It’s about being human.

9 years ago today, the world stood still for at least a moment for all of us, and for much, much longer for some of us.

I had just finished a 400 mile bike ride for charity from Montreal to Portland, Maine.  The first flight of the morning of 9/11/2001 I had flown from Portland to LaGuardia airport in NYC, and was awaiting a change of planes to fly home to Fort Lauderdale.

As we approached the city for landing, my friends and myself were saying what a beautiful clear day it was, how the city skyline stood out in stark relief against the brilliant blue sky.  We were full of the kindness of humanity, having just spent 5 days literally riding our asses off with hundreds of others, raising money for those who could not ask for themselves.

As we sat in the terminal awaiting our plane, we began to hear that a plane had hit a building.  The enormity of the situation hit when we looked out the windows of the terminal and saw the black smoke rising.  The news slowly built, and a plane landed that had been in the air and saw Tower 1 hit.  The passengers and staff were understandably shaken and scared.   Still no one really knew what was going on.

Then sirens sounded and the airport was evacuated.  In a hurried but organized and polite manner, the ocean of humanity moved outside into the bright sunlight.  Having no real idea where to go, we followed some others across a foot bridge.  As we were crossing the bridge, we saw Tower 2 fall.  My friend looked at me, I looked at her, and as I was saying “I feel like we’re in a bad movie” she was saying “whatever is happening, this is history.”

We streamed into a local hotel, and we fortunate enough to be able to book a room.  Attempt after attempt to reach my family was failing, as cell phones were clogging the lines.  Finally I found a place with reception and a television (in the hotel gym, ironically) and was able to reach my family to let them know I was OK.

For the remainder of our time in NY, we were struck by the incredible kindnesses shown to each human.  We took a bus to give blood, had no idea where we were going and were kindly directed by strangers.  We celebrated life, in the midst of death and terror.

This is not about my story.

This is about your story.  What are you going to do today to show kindness to another.

What will make you human.

Tell everyone you care about how much you love them, because you never know what tomorrow will bring.

No pictures today, no clever lines.

Love.  Humanity.

Be it.

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  1. Kim says:

    Wow…..I had no idea that you were that close!

    I’ll never forget Aaron calling me (I was in a computer training class for a new job) and telling me that a plane hit Tower 1. I thought he meant a small plane, like an 8 seater. We were able to access the internet in our class and then did nothing else all day but stare in horror. I just wanted to go pick up Jon from kindergarten and never leave our house again.

  2. Oh, gosh, you were there … you were so up close to this tragedy. We are not that far from the Pentagon and have many friends who work there and nearby. One friend was supposed to be on one of those flights, but was sick and couldn’t go.

    I was sitting at home on the sofa watching Good Morning America. I was one week out from having my hysterectomy and recovering. So I sat at home and watched it all, and called my husband and friends who had no idea. Our son was at school and I waited for him to come home. Everything changed that day. Today is a gorgeous September blue-sky day just like that one.

    Thanks for this post, Erin. Sending hugs to all and counting my blessings. I am reaching out and helping others today. That’s what it’s always about. The human connections we make. But a remembrance of a tragedy of such epic proportions reminds us more than ever.

    Hugs,
    Shirley

  3. Erin says:

    Kim,
    Scary stuff all around. My Mom is a teacher’s aide, and she also told me how they were all huddled in a classroom around a TV.
    E-hugs to you, my friend :) As we move forward, we can only try to do better and be better, and as trite as is sounds, to never forget.

  4. Wow Erin, reading this literally gave me goose bumps. I was at work and Mike called me to tell me about it. The hotel staff sat in the cantina and watched the television all day, until a bomb threat was called in and we had to evacuate the entire hotel, including several conferences that were in session.

    Normally, there would have been a lot of angry people yelling about the inconvenience, but not that day. On that day, everyone calmly came together as one, and it still resonates deeply with me, 9 years later.

  5. Erin says:

    Shirley,
    Thank you for sharing your story. When we finally did get out of the city (rental car several days later) we passed thru DC on our way back to FL, and could still see the smoldering from the Pentagon. So many lives touched in one way or another.
    It’s so easy to get caught up in the details and mundane of daily life, but remembering our good fortune is something to recognize on a daily basis.
    (I have an email to write to you-want to give myself adequate time to respond fully! Such cool news all around!)
    E-hugs back at’cha :)

  6. Erin says:

    Heidi,
    So true how in an emergency, all the petty differences are set aside and we cooperate and act together, as a human family. I know differences of opinion and view are essential to growth, but it would seem nice if we could set differences aside to work together, even without an emergency.
    Inconvenience is, after all, only that. Today I will be much more patient with bad drivers, and will try my hardest to continue that patience beyond today.

  7. Wow! Erin, what a story! I, too, was amazed and humbled by how close everyone became and how kind people were to each other. I cannot believe that you were that close and could see Tower 2 fall!
    Sending hugs to you! Thank you for sharing this!

  8. Erin says:

    Kim,
    It’s a shame that it takes a great human tragedy to bring out our best, but that seems to be the case sometimes.
    Thanks for coming by :)
    These virtual hugs are great and all, but I really hope to meet some of my e-friends in real life someday!

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