Today is 9/11. I see the photos on my Facebook feed. I read the posts. The memories. I try to scroll past them all. But I can’t. I see friends’ accounts and slowly, slowly, I am sucked back 19 years to that morning on the 33rd floor of Liberty Place, where I was working as a Paralegal in a law firm in Center City Philadelphia, 7-months pregnant with my first child.
I was in the copy room when I saw on TV, the plane crash into the 2nd building behind the newswoman. It was surreal. A bunch of us were standing around the tv, watching, speechless. Unable to move. We were confused. Was it real?
I went back to my private office, and called my cousin in NY with shaking fingers. No answer. Then I called Jordan…no answer. I looked out the windows…..eerily quiet. No planes….they had all been grounded. A short time later we were ordered to the stairwell like a fire drill.
The “fire marshall” (a regular staff member) assigned two men to escort me down the elevator. I refused, and went down the stairs like everyone else. 33 flights…bump bump bump…..On the ground floor, outside the building, it was crowded like nothing I had ever seen before. The buildings had all been emptied. The whole city was crowded together on the sidewalks. My good friend and colleague, Denise, one of the lawyers on our team, came with me to Rittenhouse Square, where I thought it would be safe from crowds. It was.
Afterwards, the horror of what had happened was hard to believe. And today, it still is.
My life in Israel now, 19 years later, is intimately intertwined with our own First Responders….the same type of men and women who dealt with 9/11 are the heroes of our time. There, on that fateful day on September 11th, 2001, and here in Israel, everyday. I have the honor to help them, and so do you.
Why do they volunteer in this way? What drives them to save lives in the middle of the night? In the midst of a terror attack? Why do they run INTO the danger, when so many of us run AWAY?
They are special, heroic people that god has given us. They have passion to act, and we are grateful for them. I, for one, feel very lucky.
Support us today. www.hatzalah.org.il