Ten years ago today I awoke to a call from home insisting that I “turn on the TV!” Like so many others I sat in horror as the World Trade Center towers fell. The difference was that I had been on American flight 11 on September 10 and had been scheduled to fly on 9/11. It happened to be that my trip was moved a day because of when the Jewish holidays fell. Such a mitzvah for a goyem like me.
I had two people who worked for me as well as my client on flights out of New York that morning. There were several tense hours before we ascertained that they were safe. Nothing like the agony of people who had lost friends or family that day, of course, but an intense realization that bad things happen to good people and that much less is under our control than we imagine.
I remember the uncertainty, the need to make decisions about others who were due to travel to join us, and finally to the realization that those decisions were out of my hands. I remember an intense desire to get home.
The lessons I have taken away: be present for every day, take nothing for granted, and make your contributions now for no one knows what tomorrow brings.