Sometimes, out in the middle of nowhere is the safest place to be.
I never really believed that when people said it until 12 years ago today. We truly were in the middle of nowhere - a cruise ship approaching Mo'orea, Tahiti on our honeymoon. There was an announcement on the loud speaker about all flights into, out of and through the United States being cancelled until further notice. I thought it was a joke...even a snow storm doesn't shut it all down like that.
When we turned on the TV, it was 7 a.m. in Tahiti and early afternoon in New York. The slideshow of horrors played over and over - the planes, the smoke, the falling buildings, the unspeakable loss of so many lives. The World Trade Center, the Pentagon, a field in Pennsylvania. All images, forever sketched in our minds.
Out in the middle of nowhere on 9/11, I finally understood the meaning of surreal. Those flashes had to be special effects from an epic movie...those planes flying into buildings couldn't have been passenger jets...yet, they were.
I asked a New Yorker next door how close was the Empire State Building to the World Trade Center. Over 90 percent of my company worked out of the Empire State Building, but as a rep in the Chicago office I had no clue until that day how close, yet how far those two buildings were. I was so far away, safe in the middle of nowhere for the time being.
On 9-11 our world changed, our innocence was gone, our lives took a different trajectory. The terrorists that hit everyplace else hit us hard at home...as the smoke cleared and the recovery efforts got underway, we learned about the heroes lost and the heros about to be made. First responders from all over the country came to help and part of the team were the search and rescue dogs, the therapy dogs, the comfort dogs - all known these days as the hero dogs of 9-11.
This is one day we should never forget. One moment we never want back. And, as we all find different ways to come to grips yet again with that one day in history, my tribute is to those dogs that arrived at the scene and did their own part when hell on earth hit America - the hero dogs of 9/11.