Sept 11th is so deeply tattooed into my brain that the memories will never go away.
I will never forget rollerblading 8 miles downtown to the World Trade Center with a first aid kit helping people in the streets only to see the north tower collapse around me.I collected body parts and found awful things like someone’s heart laying on a piece of steel and a computer monitor with a charred skull inside. I used to think about it everyday but now it is in a compartment that is only opened by triggers or on my command. Twenty-three of my close friends were stolen on that hideous day and I had the choice to die with them or move forward and honor their lives. I chose the latter.
My work on Sept 11th and all the way through to its closing 9 months later, is a long and filled story which people can choose to read in my Third Wave book- so I won’t go into the long details now. I will say that out of the darkness of that event came a real hope for humanity as people of all nations worked together for the good of mankind.
In that first September week our ragtag team of volunteers came together to work in a makeshift broken bar at the base of Ground Zero. Fema visited us many times asking us to leave because it was time for the ‘professionals’ to take over but then they covered their badges and told us to stay as ‘everyone was needed!’ Strangely, it is these very words that shaped the future of the Third Wave volunteers.
I believe a way to honor my lost friends is to pay forth the celebration of life by volunteering. I threw myself into volunteering all over the world, collaborating with other volunteers who had the same philosophy of equality for all people and cutting through red tape and bureaucracy to get help directly to the people.