Today is a day of remembrance and prayers. In my family, it is a day to give thanks to God for sparing my uncle and my cousin—his nephew.
September 11, 2001, my cousin Alex, a twenty-five years old accountant was
cursing himself for staying up late the night before, ignoring his alarm while
still dozing, and missing his train from Long Island to Manhattan. His Mom had
just arrived the night before and the whole family was celebrating her visit
with a special dinner.
Alex took the next train and worried during the
whole trip about what his boss would say. It was his first job after graduating
with an MBA, a nice position as accountant in a firm on the 18th floor of the
World Trade Center.
The train stopped for 20 minutes at the previous
station and then zoomed without stopping for the next four stations. Alex and
the passengers couldn’t understand why. They were told to evacuate the train and
walk. While walking toward the World Trade Center, Alex saw the smoke and fumes
darkening the sky. People were running in all directions. Someone told him about
the attack. He tried to walk away, toward his home. From 9:30 am to 5 pm he
roamed in the streets, not knowing how to find transportation and reach home. By
4 pm he finally found someone who agreed to let him use a cellular phone and he
His mother had seen the attack on TV and collapsed thinking
her son dead. The whole family gathered around her, supporting and comforting
her with words of hope, as she screamed, prayed, cried for hours, until she
heard my cousin’s voice on the phone.
That same day, my uncle, a VP in a contracting firm was meeting with important
clients in the company’s office on the 80th floor of the World Trade Center. A
man in his sixties, he often had health problems.
While driving at 8:30
on the Expressway, he felt sick and had to stop at a fast food restaurant to use
the restroom. At 8:45 he called the office, talked to the administrative
assistant and to the owner’s son and informed them that he would be fifteen
minutes late for the meeting with the clients. A moment later, he raced on the
highway. But at 9:15, his wife called him and said to make a U-turn. His office
was no more. Later he learned that his boss’s son, a young man in his early
thirties, ran down the 80 floors, but their administrative assistant and the old
client waited for the elevator and never made it.
Today is a sad
day for many. We will never forget 911.