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As we approach the 10th anniversary of the tragedy that occurred September 11, 2001, my emotions seem heavier this year than most.   For me so much has changed, careers, locations, thought process, and the people that were in my life then and now.    I did not lose a friend or family member on that day, although it came close.  As fate would have it my family had been removed from harms way, but other families were not so fortunate.  You hear countless stories on the news of family members who recall that day, and the pain is still fresh, although it may not be as sharp the pain still exists.

I do not understand the point of terriorism.  Innocent people are killed, maimed and dismembered for a cause that they did not ask to be in.  Does the act change a person's point of view?  Does it sway them to their cause?  Does anyone really hear them?  Or is the point just to instill fear, like the antics of a bully?  I don't really know.  All I know that it changed us, and on that day, it united us.  Strangers were kind to one another, we reached out to our fellow man, and we acted like people instead of shattered pieces of glass.  

My story was being partially stranded in Charlotte SC.   I was standing at the front desk of the hotel, and I hear the desperate pleas of a mother trying to find a way to New Jersey.  Her daughters who were both flight attendants on the airlines were grounded there.  Cellphones were not as advanced then as they are now.  We had to rely on friends plugging us in with directions from the computer,and writing them down to find out way.   What I recall along the way, is that people were kinder along the way.  The disbelief of what happen was not real to me, until we passed the Pentagon at 1:00am and it was still on fire.  The roads were as empty as a country back road, and there was a helicopter following us.   You could smell the fumes from the jet fuel 70 miles away, and the roads and tunnels to New York and our Nation's Capitol were closed.   When we reached New Jersey we all hugged each other, and crammed out exhausted bodies into the small SUV.  Our only thoughts were HOME!   It seemed like the trip from New Jersey to Chicago went passed in a blink of an eye.   There were 5 drivers, and we took turns behind the wheel.  Each of us partnered with a co-pilot to keep the driver alert, all of us with a heavy foot! 

We said our good-byes at the car rental drop off, and I headed home.  I called my mom, I needed to see her face.  When my feet touched the steps of porch, my knees buckled and I was overcome with emotion.  I remember looking up and seeing her face at the top of the stairs, and I let it go.  She held me so tight, and we cried together......home, I was home!  I was safe!  The nightmare was over for me. 

For all of those who have lost someone during that day in history, I send you {{HUGS}}  For all of those who gave your life that someone else could live, I say THANK YOU!  The price of freedom is NOT FREE!  Your sacrifice was not in vain!

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