It was close to 9am in Los Angeles and I was on running in Griffith Park with my APLA (AIDS Project Los Angeles) training group. Right about that hour, all of our phones simultaneously buzzed. One right after another. When I answered mine, it was my Aunt telling me a plane hit the Pentagon. My father worked at the Pentagon. We hadn’t heard from him…yet. My Aunt phoned again , a few moment later to inform that Dad was fine and my Uncle (who was also working there) was a little injured..but safe.
There are no words to describe the panic racing through every fiber of my being at that moment. Now, I realize it pales in comparison to the never ending grief those who witnessed, suffered or survived. For many years, the 911 Memorial & Museum has been documenting the experiences of that one day. Now, the full story of 9-11 is being told in full from the first plane hitting to the last survivors rescued from the rubble. Many have been asked what that day was really like. Is it that what they really want to know or do they want to know what it’s like to be part of history. A history that included signs of death everywhere, yet signs of hope and the difference between life and death.
Seeing those planes hit the twin towers didn’t feel real. It felt like watching a really intense action movie. But, it wasn’t a film…it was a horrific, cowardly act that ripped hundreds of lives from their families and friends. Watching these survivors recount their harrowing accounts of the events leading up to the blast, reinforces that tomorrow is not guaranteed to one single person.
Directed by Daniel Bogado and produced by Daniel Lindsay, T. J. Martin, David Glover and Caroline Marsden, this National Geographic docu-series pays homage to people like Rick Rescrola and his security team members Jorge Velazquez, Godwin Forde and Wesley Mercer who were inside the South Tower when it collapsed, through extraordinary cell phone, camera footage and stills. Their actions helped save over 2,000 lives It’s a reminder of a time, unlike now, when for one day people remembered their humanity if only to save one life.
I will never forget how close I came to losing my father. Nor, will I ever forget how lucky he and my Uncle were to survive a day that will be a permanent stain in the hearts of millions of Americans for an eternity. 9-11 One Day in America will rattle nerves, flood memories to the forefront and honor the first-responders whose bravery and unselfish, quick thinking made our country bond tight like never before.