Everyone has a 9/11 story. We can all say that after 9//11 life has never and will never be the same. And no matter where you were on that fateful day, you remember the moment you found out that the towers fell.
I’ve partnered with the awe-inspiring film starring Charlie Sheen and Whoopi Goldberg titled 9/11, based on the original play The Elevator, that centers on the events of September 11, 2001, to tell you my own 9/11 story, why I’ll never forget 9/11 and how it impacted my life, and to offer you a #Remember911 giveaway!
I was the COO of a Miami-based company, located at the Cyber Park, in the Dominican Republic and I heard the news from one of my colleagues via MSN messenger. He told me to tune into the news online and I immediately felt shock and terror. I had been in New York in 1999 and I had been in awe of these massive towers, and to think they could collapse was never a thought that I had ever entertained.
Knowing that there were people inside the buildings and inside the planes that crashed into them was terrifying, disturbing, and sad. I was in disbelief that something like this could happen in real life and I prayed for a miracle.
I started trying to get in touch with my sister, who was visiting my aunt in Queens. She was supposed to fly out of JKF that day and all flights were cancelled. I was hooked to the computer and didn’t want to leave the office. Instead of doing what I had planned to do that day, I was refreshing the news page like a maniac, hoping for positive updates and it only seemed to get worse.
A short while later, I received the phone call that my grandmother had passed away. Even thousands of miles away from ground zero, I mourned with those who lost loved ones that day. I took a bus to go to Santo Domingo and then a bus to go to Ocoa so I could be with my family. As I traveled that day, I noticed everyone was quiet and everyone’s faces were dark and gloomy, which was very uncommon among the people of my island. The shock and powerlessness about the World Trade Center was overwhelming.
You may be a bit surprised I’ll be watching the film 9/11, because it is rated R for language; however, it is based on a true story and chronicles the lives of five average, everyday people who find themselves trapped in an elevator during the events of 9/11 in the World Trade Center. I’ll cover my ears when needed.
I am excited about the giveaway because the #Remember911 Prize Pack contains the following cool items:
1 – 9/11 poster Hand Signed Autographed by star Charlie Sheen
1 – “Hope” Pendant with necklace
1 – Guide to Talking To Your Children About 9/11 thanks to Tuesday’s Children
And speaking of children, I started telling my children about 9/11 from a very early age, because besides the sense of despair that day brought, it actually impacted my life in an unusual way.
Just a few months before 9/11, I had gotten married to their biological father at a Dominican beach. The plan (or so I thought) was that he would transfer from Camp Pendleton to the Santo Domingo Embassy and move into my condo. I’d finish college before having kids (since I had only a few classes left), and I’d continue to be an executive at IVM Telecom, which provided great benefits and an amazing income. We’d live in the Dominican Republic “happily ever after.” Famous last words.
The day after 9/11, I was on the phone with my then long-distance husband, finding out that no USMC soldiers would be able to transfer and that, instead, they would probably need to be deployed. Deployed? That was a new word for me and one that meant that I had a tough decision to make.
I was so torn! I loved traveling to the US but I never thought of moving there. I felt like I was finally in the place I wanted to be in my life and I had worked so hard to finally live my dreams. I didn’t want to leave it all behind. Well, I ended up moving to California “to make my marriage work” with the little belongings I could fit in a carry-on suitcase on December 13, 2001, just 3 days before my birthday. It was such an emotional time for me and almost 16 years later, I still struggle with being homesick and wondering “what if I would have chosen to stay? We’ll never know … What I do know is that my daughters are worth the journey and we are all happy that we have this 9/11 beginning.
Shortly after the girls and I moved to Texas, I was a consultant for Maureen Santora, author of “The Day The Towers Fell” and “My Son Christopher,” and helped her with some web design, PR, and marketing strategy. She lost her only son, Christopher Santora, who followed in the footsteps of his Firefighter father, was a member of Engine 54/Ladder 4 for only 2 months before he lost his life tragically as a respondent on September 11.
“I will never recover from this. Part of me died that day when he died,” she said, as we all chatted about the significance of 9/11 and my then 8 and 9 year olds learned about how the towers fell and how it impacted others around the globe. Personal stories are always so powerful!
I am excited to learn from the personal stories depicted on the 9/11 film, which is now in theaters. 9/11 features an all star cast including my friend Luis Guzman (The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3), Gina Gershon (Showgirls), Wood Harris (Justified), Jacqueline Bisset (Dancing on the Edge (BBC), Welcome to New York), Olga Fonda (The Vampire Diaries) and Bruce Davison (X-Men).
In the World Trade Center, a billionaire sits in his attorney’s office awaiting a divorce hearing against his wife. In a west side apartment, a bike messenger kisses his 5-year old daughter and sings her “Happy Birthday” before leaving for work. A maintenance man gets dispatched to help a tenant with his lock. In an upper east side apartment, a young model musters the courage to break up with her sugar daddy. As random as random can be, these individuals step into a crowded World Trade Center elevator.
Wrapped up in their own world, they all ride silently hearing only the sound of the elevator giving notice of each floor. When the elevator stops on the 34th floor, it empties leaving only these five behind. Moments later … their world changes as the collision of a jet into the North Tower incapacitates the elevator.
With no understanding of what has happened and is happening around them, these fives are forced to band together and fight against all odds to escape from the impending horrific collapse. During these critical minutes, a story of courage, faith, and the will to live unfolds.
When tragedy, adversity, and loss happen, forgetting may seem like the easiest path, but as we remember those defining stories that marked our lives forever, we can find meaning, we can feel gratitude, and we can find a deeper sense of compassion within.
What’s your 9//11 story? I look forward to hearing from you! COMMENT TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY! If you want more information, you can viisit https://www.911movie.