After checking in to a nondescript Motel 6 and getting situated, I found my way online and finally saw the email. Our friends Ron Gamboa, Dan Brandhorst, and their young son David had been returning home, having just vacationed on the Cape, and had been on United Airlines Flight 175.
I'll admit it: I have been afraid to go to Ground Zero. Since 9/11/01 I've probably been to New York City 10 times. I have no excuse but just what I've said -- Fear. Fear of what? The horror? Empathy? Sympathy? My imagination? The human heart? That there would be an element of voyeurism? That somehow it wouldn't be memorialized in a way that felt reverent? Then I met Christie Coombs.
Today, may the gentle sounds of our whispered blessings rise up and join together in the September skies, covering our nation with a sheltering blanket of reverence, unity, and meaning.
My process of healing was recognizing the power of resilience -- recognizing how I can transform my experience into a sense of positive action.
We will remember the 2,977 people from more than 90 nations who were killed as a result of the horrific terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. More than 400 of them were people who responded first to the attacks.
Ken has spent the past 2.5 years putting life lessons into a new book: The Real Rules of Life: Balancing Life's Terms with Your Own. I caught up with him as he was preparing to reconnect with the families of 9/11 at next Tuesday's memorial ceremony at Ground Zero.
For these responders, September 11th does not merely reflect a day, week or even months. Instead it is a lifetime of psychological digestion, one only truly understood by others that worked on the pile.
Despite an obvious flair for the dramatic, Indian actor-director Puneet Issar chose a New York City mosque rather than the red carpet to premier his Hindi film, "I Am Singh."
My mother likes to say that her children had saved her life multiple times by being late to school. September 11 was such a time.
Everyone has their story, the progression of memories triggered by the date, or a set of words, or that question used for tragedy after tragedy: "Do you remember where you were?"
It was my second day of kindergarten, I was five years old, and four blocks away from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. This is my story.
The U.S.-led 'War on Terror' has resulted in the erosion of hard-fought human rights achievements, including the absolute prohibition on torture, and undermined accountability mechanisms against governmental abuses of power.
I'm waiting on West 33rd Street for my bus back to Washington, D.C. For those who have taken the DC2NY bus, or one of the others that shuttle between the two cities, you know this spot. It's right in front of that strip joint.
We never went back there together and neither one of us ever saw the World Trade Center again. The towers fell less than a month later, taking one of his best friends with them, and my marriage, which had already slowly begun crumbling, collapsed not too soon after.
As we commemorate 9/11, we should remember that this is also the 10th anniversary of 9/12 -- the day when the shock began to wear off, and the country began to decide what its reaction was going to be.
As we lay the flowers and bow our heads, I hope we each reflect on our responsibilities to one another. As the passengers of flight 93 did 10 years ago.