2,996

September 9, 2016 0 Comments

I remember the day vividly.

I remember how blue the sky was…how clear it was…not a cloud in the sky.

Like so many others…I remember the moment that everything changed.

8:45am.

A freak accident?

9:03am.

We all knew…it was something much more terrifying.

I could go about where I was…what I was doing…how I felt…what I saw…how many people I lost that day.

But it’s not about me.

2,996 people.

It’s about them.

2,996.

They boarded planes for business trips and vacations.

They went to work.

They went to meetings.

They were having their morning coffee…their pumpernickel bagel with cream cheese from the corner deli…they were telling their co-workers about their kids’ upcoming soccer games.  They were planning weddings…retirement parties…baptisms…weekend getaways.

It was a normal day.

Until, it wasn’t.

There was Melissa Doi. She graduated from Northwestern with dreams of becoming a ballerina.  She worked as a manager at IQ Financial Systems. She called 911 from the 83rd floor of Tower 2.

MD: It’s very hot, I see…I don’t see, I don’t see any air anymore!*

911: Okay…*

MD: All I see is smoke.*

911: Okay dear, I’m so sorry, hold on for a sec, stay calm with me, stay calm, listen, listen, the call is in, I’m documenting, hold on one second please…*

MD: I’m going to die, aren’t I?*

911: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, say your, ma’am, say your prayers.*

MD: I’m going to die.*

911: You gotta think positive, because you gotta help each other get off the floor.*

MD: I’m going to die.*

911: Now look, stay calm, stay calm, stay calm, stay calm.*

MD: Please God… *

Brian Sweeney was a passenger on Flight 175, one of the planes hijacked and flown into WTC South Tower.  He left a voicemail for his wife Julie that day.

“Jules, this is Brian. Listen, I’m on an airplane that’s been hijacked. If things don’t go well, and it’s not looking good, I just want you to know that I absolutely love you. I want you to do good, go have good times – same to my parents and everybody. I just totally love you… and I’ll see you when you get there. Bye babe. I hope I call you.”

Kevin Cosgrove, a 45-year-old father of three, was still on the phone to emergency services when the South Tower started to collapse.

KC: There’s smoke really bad.*

911: Sit tight and we’ll get to you as soon as we can.*

KC: I know you’ve got a lot in the building but we’re up on the top. Smoke rises too. Come on, I can barely breathe now – can’t see. It’s really bad, it’s black, it’s arid. We’re young men, not ready to die.*

911: Hello?*

KC: Hello… there’s three of us, two broken windows… Oh God! Oh…*

(Rushing sound of collapsing building).

These are just three of the stories. Three of the 2,996.

A national tragedy.

2,996 people never came home for dinner that night.

My kids will learn about that day in their history books.  It will, I’m sure, be very matter-of-fact. “Here’s what happened…here’s why…ok moving on.”
But I have made a promise to myself…that I will share the stories…the moments from that day.  The day the world stopped.

 

 

 

 

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