I am sitting here before my television watching the families of the victims of September 11th read their names. I am crying and remembering.
On September 11th I was going to be on the Rosie O'Donnell Show when the second plane hit. I was driving into the city when the first plane hit and thought (as most others did) that it was a drunk or misguided pilot. I didn't believe it when we heard the second plane had hit and we were under attack. But when they evacuated Rockefeller Center, it was obvioys that something horrible had really happened.
I had both of my children where working in NY, and I spent a hour tracking them down. I brought my daughter to my law offices and together, while I was e-mailing the Whitehouse, the FBI and my hackers, we watched the buildings collapse. It took us seven hours ot drive out of manhattan that day, a drive that usually takes 20 minutes. We watched people trudging across the 59th street Bridge covered with dust, blood and faces filled with shock and pain. Old women with canes, young men carrying babies, people walking barefoot in some cases with ripped clothing and blank stares.
The cars and trucks stopped to give them rides, and we had a case of Evian water in our trunk we passed out.
While wiredsafety.org is an online safety group, we immediately went to work providing help to the families of victims. One of our teen volunteers lost her father at the World Trade centers. We enlisted our volunteers to provide teams of help to the families of the victims. We posted their posters, helped them get through day-to-day and provided a place where generous people from across the world could send help, and items needed by the families, to them. We teamed our volunteers into gruop for our family match program, where three volunteers were paired with each family of the victims to provide warmth, caring and support 24/7.
Within three days I was at teh Whitehouse helping create programs to keep the children from hating others and from living with fear. The program was called E-Mail America, and allowed children from around the world to send messages to others in NY, President Bush and even a search and rescue dog we found, named Servous. I wrote a children's story about this brave dog, and the new puppy named by the children to take over when Servous died from the injuries he sustained at Ground Zero.
We provided the ornament angels for the Ground Zero Christmas tree with a group of generous people from around the United States, thousands of angels decorated by the old, the sick, the caring and children. I was honored ot be the one who turned on the lights and will never forget the construction workers in the dust lights, crying as they hung these fragile paper angels on the tree using Verizon's cherrypicker cable trucks.
The stories of our work and the works of others will be part of history. But none of this would have been possible without the Internet. It allowed us to reach out when phones didn't work in New York. It allowed people from around the world to volunteer their time and caring to help the victims directly, it allowed people making paper angels to reach me and have them hung at Ground Zero.
I know we should be hopeful on this day. But I am just sitting here grieving with the families, knowing we are all together in this today as we were three years ago.
The enormity of this is beyond comprehension.
but watching other mothers and fathers and children read the names and leave messages for the lost family members makes it about each one. As the names are read we are reminded that everyone is represented among the lost. Arabs, Persians, Europeans, Asians, South and Central Americans, Australians and New Zealanders, Africans and Americans, all together in our loses.
All together on something that should never happen again and should never have happened. The world grieves.
and so do I.
may God be with us all.