The word anniversary is normally used for happy celebrations, but this month brings two events that need to be remembered, though not celebrated. I normally post on Thursday, but today is a special day.
September 11, 2001. It was 18 years ago that the planes flew into the World Trade Center in NYC, the Pentagon, and the field in Pennsylvania. So many lives were lost and countless more were affected by these tragic events. Our country changed. We changed. Eighteen years later, and we don’t feel entirely safe going places we used to take for granted. I hope if you have memories of this event, you’ll feel like sharing.
The third book in The Second Chances Series, ACT OF TRUST, honors the bravery of all those who were left to pick up the pieces of their lives. My author’s note at the beginning explains why I wrote the book:
If you’re of a certain age, 9/11 resonates with you in the way Pearl Harbor did with the Greatest Generation.
We all know where we were when the planes hit the towers. Many lost loved ones or acquaintances, and we all have our stories.
My younger daughter and her husband moved to New York City on Sunday 9/9. On Tuesday morning, September 11, as the principal in an elementary school, I’d arrived at my regular time, around 7:15 to get a jump-start on the day. My husband normally left later for his downtown high-rise to miss the traffic. He never went in that day after receiving a call from a good friend telling him to turn on the TV.
It was three that afternoon before I knew my daughter and her husband were okay. Trying to keep staff, kids, and parents calm in the face of what we didn’t know took my focus. Parents flocked the school to take their children home. Making sure students went with the right person took the full attention of my staff and me. I was one of the very lucky ones. My family was okay.
So, ACT OF TRUST is a personal story to me. I admire those who’ve gone on after losing a loved one in this tragic experience. I can’t imagine it, though, as a writer, that’s my job. My intent was to honor their loss and commend their courage. I hope people find comfort in the happily ever after ending of this story.
I will send a portion of the sale of each book to the 9/11 Memorial Gardens and Museum. If you care to donate directly, as well, here’s the link: http://www.911memorial.org/
I do send money every year to this organization. Do you have a story?
Unfortunately, two years before 9/11, our town experienced a mass shooting. I was in my third year as the assistant principal at Bruce Shulkey Elementary School. Wedgwood Baptist Church sat just across the street from our school. (Oddly, when we were young marrieds with our first child, we rented a house next to the church and across from the school.)
On September 15, 1999 a shooter with a grudge against Baptists broke into an evening prayer group for teenagers. He shot six people and injured seven before killing himself. He used a semi-automatic and had a troubled mental health history. The spring before our country had experienced the horrific shooting at Columbine High School. Many came from Colorado to help folks in Fort Worth deal with what seemed unthinkable at the time—a shooting in a sacred place of worship.
Our school was used as a staging area for all the officials and families. Thursday and Friday our students were bused to a couple of other elementary schools. Staff was split up to accommodate them. Various agencies helped, but there was really no plan for how to make it work. Because of this event, the city, county, police, fire, and school district came together to make plans should, God forbid, this kind of thing happen again. Little did we know what lay ahead.
I can’t end this post with all these sad memories. I would be remiss not to mention all the wonderful folks who step up in a crisis. At our core, I still believe this is a great country with more people who care about helping than those who don’t. So, what about you? Are you a glass half full kind of person or a glass half empty? What are your memories around 9/11? Love to hear from you.
Great News: I must share that our SIL Kevin completed the Iron Man on Sunday in Madison, Wisconsin. We didn’t go but were there in spirit. Technology is such that we could follow his path on computer and phone, and our daughter Laura sent pics, both live and video. Well done, Kevin. You should be proud of this accomplishment. You showed yourself to be a true Iron Man when you stopped to kiss your daughter and wife at various points in the race.
1.Radio Show interview on Tuesday, September 17 at 7 pm CDT. This is through Texas Authors and the show is carried on I Heart Radio. I’ll post links on FB and Twitter as we get closer so you can listen live, but I’ll also have the link in next week’s Newsletter.
2. I’ve started work on what will be my 8th published book. No name yet. Takes place in Fort Worth and Red River, NM. Gosh it’s hard to start from scratch!