I woke up early this morning thinking about all those people who woke up on September 11th 2001 and started their morning and daily life just like they normally did, not realizing the world would change this day. What I can’t figure out today is why this is not the first news story today- yes it’s still mentioned and acknowledged, but each year it becomes a more distant memory. I don’t want to forget all those people who went to their jobs and never came home. Or ran to rescue and help those in need and also never came home.
Here is my blog from last year.
I was in London on Marriott business. I was with Marriott colleagues, 60 customers from all over North America and my mom and sister who were able to join me on this business trip. Tuesday was our off day from the trade show and I was in Chelsea window shopping. I walked into this wonderful little pillow store which sold ridiculously expensive pillows ( $220 for a pillow!). The 2 shop girls were in the back of the store, looked up at me and said- ” Are you American?” When I said yes, they said, “your country is under attack.” They motioned me to this tiny TV and I saw the second plane flying directly into the 2nd Tower. I could not believe my eyes…. I quickly went back to the street to grab a taxi back to the hotel, the cabby had tears in his eyes as he told me how sorry he was for my country… Everyone I encountered the next hour getting back to my room could not have been kinder to me as an American… We spent the next week in England with our customers and colleagues until airplanes were allowed to fly again. Watching TV, mourning, staying in touch with our friends and family back home…. a week I’ll never forget. Our flight back to the US was on the first day you were allowed to fly. Everyone was very nervous during the 7 hour flight, but British Airways did a tremendous job and we all applauded wildly when we landed in Atlanta.
Personally I didn’t know anyone who was killed in the attacks, but I do have a connection to one very special woman.
My friend Ann ( who I’d written about earlier this year – Love at 52 1/2) grew up in Maryland with a family with three kids. The oldest daughter was Ann’s age and they were life long friends. She worked in NYC at Cantor Fitzgerald, fell in love and married in her 30’s and had the perfect NYC life. Exceptional success at work, , happiness and love with a great guy …. She was just like us, went to work on a beautiful Tuesday morning at a career she loved and around 8:45AM a plane plowed into her office building a few floors below where she was working on the 104th Floor and she had no way down….
Her mom is someone I’ve gotten to know thru Ann over the past few years, Joan, is one of the bravest women I’ve ever met. A tremendous faith that has taken her through the past 7 years. She told me a few years ago that even though I didn’t know her, I had a guardian angel who would always be around watching and protecting. Today, and every day, I honor Valerie Silver Ellis . The New York Times did a series of tributes to all the people who died on Sept. 11th to tell the rest of the world what these people were all about. Here is Val’s.
“Fixing Shoes, and Wagon”
One of the best Valerie Silver Ellis stories takes place in the early ’80’s when she was starting out at Cantor Fitzgerald. A senior trader asked her to take his shoes to be repaired, so Ms. Ellis had taps put on the toes and the heels extended to four inches. When the senior trader ordered the upstart young trader to redo the job, Ms. Ellis had the shoes bronzed.”They ended up being friends,” said Brian Hull, a friend and former client of Ms. Ellis. “She refused to be insulted, she refused to be intimidated. She just worked as hard as she could and she won.”Ms. Ellis, a 46-year-old equities trader, worked at Cantor Fitzergerald for 20 years, 18 of those at the World Trade Center.”Someone said at her memorial that Val collected people,” her husband, Sam Ellis, said. “She also loved to collect art. We had a place in the Hamptons and she liked the artists in the area. She loved the beach; she loved her dog Spudley. She also loved the theater and we’d often entertain clients by taking them to theater and dinner.”Mr. Hull said, “You never had to see her to know that she was in a room. You just knew her laugh. She always found a reason to laugh.”
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 16, 2001.
I moved to Tybee Island full time in November of 2001. I decided that if a girl just like me could die after going to work at on a beautiful Tuesday, then I’d better be doing what I love and living where I truly want to be and appreciating and valuing every single day of my life .