I think back to those who didn't make it, or about whose fate I still don’t know, some of whom I knew very well.
Of the now-horrible sounds of those bodies hitting the plaza surface above me while I was in the mall. What if that had been my only choice?
Of a girlfriend whose husband worked on the WTC 1 102nd floor, sitting at home with an 8-month-old daughter who would never know her father.
Of the countless people with whom I exchanged pleasantries daily.
Of a gentleman who I only knew as "Fred" in the 44th floor cafeteria, who would cook me a beautiful breakfast and who always had a funny story.
Of the lovely little girl who sat three desks down from me, who was to be married in a few months, died we now believe in a trapped elevator.
Of my good friend on the 60th floor, who was missing because he stayed behind while others fled, trying to ensure that no one was left; of his six and three year old daughters, along with his wife left to wonder.
Of my three "subway guys" with whom I was going to watch college football that weekend; they were Cantor Fitzgerald employees who perished along with 700 of their co-workers on the 105th floor.
Of the people who died not 10 feet from me in the first floor lobby.
And, of that brave firefighter who pulled me through to the safety of the mall from the lobby. Oh, how I wish that I had thought to look at his badge or fire shield so that I would have known who he was! I don't know if he made it out alive but I believe he didn't. I wish I could have thanked his wife or mother and told them what he did for me and countless others. While I oddly remember many small details of that day, his face is a blur; I can only see his green eyes in my mind's eye, which makes me believe he was of Irish descent. I went through every photo of the lost firemen but could not positively identify him. This does give me some hope that maybe he made it out, but I just cannot imagine that being one of the first ones there, he was not on an upper floor when the building gave way. I can only hope...
If you haven’t discovered ‘Tilly’s Story’ of surviving the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center, posted on September 13, 2003, now might be a good time to read it ... or re-read it.
You’ll never forget it.