Sixteen years ago today, I almost didn’t get up. I was smelling the dust at Ground Zero.
The crowd was screaming as the South Tower began to crumble before our eyes.
We were standing on West street, just five blocks from the burning Twin Towers, staring at the meltdown.
The skyscraper had lost its top, a thick cloud of black smoke and orange fireballs were gushing from the upper floors. It took all of us a few seconds to realize – “oh my God, the building is falling!”
I was covering the catastrophe that morning for Dateline NBC with another producer Christian Martin. We went separate ways after buying a video camera from a newly-wed couple on honeymoon. Christian took the camera trying to get behind the police line to capture the best shots, while I stayed behind to interview the husband and wife about what they saw. They caught glimpse of the flying debris sooner than I did, as I was still transfixed, gazing up at the helicopter approaching a burning floor thinking…I need that shot, I want that shot! My instincts told me that chopper had to be on a rescue mission trying to save people trapped behind that window. But when everyone started running towards me, their crying faces and groping arms finally forced me to see reality. Run! Mable Run! I turned around a tad late, feeling a hand pressing my shoulder and a foot hitting my heel. I tripped. I fell face down, cut my lips and saw my hair pin flying several feet in front of my nose. Lying on my belly actually felt quite good at first because I could catch my breath. But I quickly asked myself – “Is this it???” God heard me. I felt a rush of energy, didn’t answer that question and got up running for my life.
I know I didn’t want to die because this is big enough to die for, yet too big to give up before the job’s done.
We all die one day, but only God knows when is my day.
We all have limited time on earth, but only we know why we live.
Let us never forget 9/11.
Let us remember all those who have perished or suffered.
Let us remember all our wounds but rise stronger than ever, to serve one another with our scars, even with our tears.