Laurie Triplette ponders the schedule change that saved her husband’s life.
Most of us remember what we were doing 12 years ago on September 11, when the World Trade Center attack occurred. I was sitting in my office sipping coffee, proofreading a report. My husband had left the house around 6:30 a.m., planning to fly up to New York, with a quick stopover for a meeting in Washington, D.C. A close friend called and screamed at me to turn on the television.
I turned on the TV before the second plane flew into the second World Trade Center tower. I watched as hapless workers jumped from the burning towers, and I screamed aloud when the towers collapsed. That’s when I got hysterical. You see, my husband had originally been scheduled to be in a meeting with Marsh risk management executives on the 101st floor of the North Tower at 9 a.m. on September 11. The previous afternoon, the meeting had been delayed until one of the executives could arrive from London. My husband changed his flight.
I started calling my husband’s office to stop him from boarding his plane. Then I called my next-door neighbor, Anne, a native New Yorker whose mother lived in the city. Anne’s husband, an executive with a major bank, was in Philadelphia, planning to fly home that day. The two of us spent several hours tracking down our spouses. Mine was stopped at the airport. Hers was grounded in Philly. We all now know what was happening in Pennsylvania.
My husband and his London colleague were the only two from that postponed Marsh meeting to survive the 9/11 attack. The rest of their team had reported to work as usual. My neighbor’s husband managed to inch his way home after several days via train and auto, and her mother was unharmed.
We were fortunate. In my town, the second largest financial center in America, the six degrees of separation applied. It seemed that we all knew people who died that day. Most of us were close to other people whose loved ones died that day. Our world certainly changed.
Friends have all heard my anecdote. It’s a small, insignificant fragment of a story when compared to the huge stories of honorable, seemingly ordinary people who died for showing up to work that beautiful September morning and heroes who died nobly trying to save the people who showed up.
But my story is meaningful, too. Think about it. A quick decision made during a 5:30 p.m. telephone call meant the difference between life and death to my family. I’ll never forget 9/11. It made me a believer in second chances.
Laurie Triplette is a writer, historian, and accredited appraiser of fine arts, dedicated to preserving Southern culture and foodways. Author of the award-winning community family cookbook GIMME SOME SUGAR, DARLIN’, and editor of ZEBRA TALES (Tailgating Recipes from the Ladies of the NFLRA), Triplette is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA) and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SOFAB). Check out the GIMME SOME SUGAR, DARLIN’ web site: www.tripleheartpress.com and follow Laurie’s food adventures on Facebook and Twitter (@LaurieTriplette).