Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the tragedies of September 11. I still remember driving to work very early 10 years ago and getting a call from my then-girlfriend about how her boss (she worked in the Seattle office of a big financial company) was sending her home early because of some accident at the World Trade Center.
I thought that was weird and turned my radio and listened in disbelief. I immediately turned my car around and headed back home to watch CNN/MSNBC. I remember being pretty worried and confused but when the second plane hit my worry and confusion turned to shock and panic and fear.
I had a number of friends that worked in the Wall Street area and I immediately started dialing numbers… to no avail – except one person. I got in touch with Jenny and she was crying and in shock when she picked up the phone. She worked a few blocks from the towers and was in mid-town – she had run/walked away from the rubble and dust but she was safe. Years later I remember opening a 9.11 photo book to find a picture of her walking down the street – crying and in shock. Haunting.
Eventually I found out that my brother’s best friend at the time – Andy Kim – passed away. I also found out someone from my church Joon Koo Kang – also passed away. They both worked in the north tower.
(Please click the links above to see their 9.11 Memorial posting)
Andy was one of the kindest people I ever met. He was a gifted musician and graciously gave his time to the youth group at his church where my brother was a youth pastor.
Joon Koo used to take my friends and I to Central Park after church to play ultimate. He left behind a loving wife and two kids. He was brilliant at bowling!
I remember that my friend Ricardo just started working with the NYPD before 9.11. I remember chatting with him on-line after his long shifts in the rubble… how he couldn’t even describe what he saw.
Being in Seattle during this time was terrible. My first instinct was to fly home. I wanted to be close to family and friends. I wanted to fly out again this weekend.
I didn’t but I wanted to spend some time on this blog to remember Andy and Joon Koo and the almost 3,000 others who lost their lives that day in NY, DC, and PA.
I also want to express my gratitude to the brave members of our armed forces who risked their lives and continue to risk their lives for our freedom.
Please take a moment this week and the weeks after to express your feelings for a loved one, to give a friend a hug, to smile at someone as you walk by.
“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”