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My prayers are with those who have lost loved ones on this day, ten years ago.  I also pray for all who were directly affected by this tragedy.  As the wife of a Fire Fighter and the sister of someone who worked in the World Trade Center my heart aches for everyone who suffered and are still suffering.

On That Day
September 11, 2001 was a beautiful day.  The sun was shining and a warm breeze was in the air.  I dropped my five year old at the bus stop and walk with my one year old back to our little apartment.  On my way there I saw a friend and we stopped to chat.  We mentioned taking a walk later on in the day.  There was no way we were staying inside on such a lovely day.

I went upstairs and turned on the news.  I put the baby on his high chair and cut some bananas up for him to eat. At the time I ran a full daycare out of my apartment, so I began to prepare for another ordinary day.  I sipped my coffee as I waited for my daycare kids to be dropped off.  When my first kid arrived, I helped him take off his shoes and I then walked him over to our craft table.  I started to set out the paint brushes and was about to start squirting paint into an empty egg carton when my second daycare kid arrived.  I was chatting with his mom when a voice came over the television set stating that an airplane had "accidentally" crashed into the World Trade Center.  Catherine and I looked at the television and we were confused.  What?!  We couldn't comprehend what we had just heard and what we were seeing on the television screen.  At that moment my phone rang and my sister-in-law was talking quickly and frantically.  "I can't understand you.  Slow down, what?"  She was rambling about a plane and my sister.  I couldn't make sense out of the words.  She then yelled "Your sister works on the 98th floor of the tower that just got hit!"  I knew this, but had momentarily forgotten until she jolted it out of me.  I then dropped the phone, dropped to my knees, and began to scream.  Catherine looked bewildered.  I was able to take control of my emotions when I saw those little faces staring at me.  "I'm sorry guys.  I'm okay.  I'm okay,"  but I wasn't.  My legs were trembling and tears were freely flowing.  Catherine offered to not go to work, to take her son home.  I reassured her that it was okay, that I was okay, that everything would be okay, that she could go on about her day like usual.  However, I was dead wrong, it was not a usual day.  It  wasn't okay and it would never be okay.

For hours we couldn't reach my sister.  For hours we couldn't even reach each other.  At the time my siblings lived in NYC and my parents were in Puerto Rico. We didn't know if my sister was dead or if she was alive.  I thought the worst, but was afraid to voice it aloud.  There is NO WAY she could have survived an airplane crashing into her floor, NO WAY.  Her tower was the first to get hit, so there was no warning, no foresight.

My husband was an MP on a Marine Corps base at the time.  I called him and told him to please come home.  I needed him.  He came to me as soon as possible.  I needed his comfort, but I also wanted him far away from Quantico.  Knowing that the Pentagon was also hit, I was afraid of what else could go wrong.  We got my son from school because we needed home.  We wanted him close to us.  We needed each other.

My family, we ended up being one of the lucky ones. My sister was okay.  She was ALIVE!  Her life had been spared by a decision that was the source of anger only three days before.  This is what happened...

The week before September the eleventh my sister had put in to have September the 10th off.  However, on September the eight her supervisor who was not a very friendly lady let her know that she actually couldn't have the tenth off even though it had already been granted.  This supervisor had the reputation of making people's lives miserable just for spite.  She told my sister that she couldn't have the tenth off, but if she wanted to, she could have the eleventh.  My sister asked why she couldn't take the tenth off and her supervisor had no real valid reason.  Under normal circumstances my sister would've challenged the decision, she would have taken it up with her supervisor's boss, but being a newly devote Christian she decided to offer it up.  She decided to pray on it and let God handle things.  This decision saved her life.  This decision has implanted in my brain that everything happens for a reason.  Now when I am stuck in traffic or when things don't go my way, I think to myself "offer it up because this circumstance may be saving your life."

Although her life was spared, my sister's heart wasn't spared.  She lost a lot on that day and I am so sorry for it.  I wish that it had never occurred. She lost almost everyone that she worked with for the exception of three other co-workers.  These co-workers were like family to her.  She spend ten hours a day for ten years with them.  She loved them, even the ones she didn't like, she loved. She went to a memorial and/or a funeral almost every week for over a year.  She has had survivor's guilt and post traumatic stress.  Her road after 9/11 has not been an easy one. I am so sorry for her pain and for her lost.

I love my sister and I am very grateful to have her.

I never did take my walk that day and things were never the same for myself, for my sister, or for our nation.

I am still grateful to have my sister.  I thank the good Lord for allowing us to keep her.  She has been able to share in so many life moments - the purchase of two homes, the births of two additional children, and the many successes in my life. I think of the emptiness that I would have had if she weren't around.  The void and the great loss I would've felt.  This scares me and I feel guilty that I was able to keep her when so many others lost their loved ones.

I will never forget.  I will always be grateful. And I thank God.


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