It was my first day of work on a four-month contract in the communications department of one of Canada’s biggest cities. The entire staff was doing an off-site training on what to do during a communications emergency. They left me and the receptionist back at the office. It was Tuesday, September 11th, 2001.
I was on the phone with a client when the first plane hit. We both assumed it was a two-seater. An accident. Then we heard about the second plane.
I thought of Osama bin Laden right away as I remembered the 1993 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Fear gripped my heart even though I didn’t know how awful it would be. That the buildings would fall. That so many people would lose their lives.
I remember being glued to the television and feeling like nothing would ever be the same. How could we as a global community move past this day? How could evil have that kind of access to innocent people?
But then I also saw the heroes. The people who ran in when others were running out. The love shared between those who spoke to each other for the last time. The people who came to Ground Zero to search for survivors. Or for the belongings that might bring a shred of peace to those left behind. I saw the air traffic controllers who safely landed thousands of planes. And the people in small towns who took in diverted passengers and gave them comfort.
We all stood together on that day. We felt the pain. We cried in disbelief. So many lives were changed. And our hearts broke for those who were suffering.
May all the people affected by that terrible day find peace. And may we work towards solutions to build a world that has no place for hatred.