I have nothing profound to add to this sad day of remembrance. I, like all of you, remember where I was, what I was doing, and what I did after. But it is much the same story as all of you. I was caught off guard, I sought solace and comfort and companionship with my fellow friends and spiritual leaders. As an RA in college I had a duty to stay in my hall, all RAs were on watch to try to help handle the massive grief that overtook our community. I volunteered to be a driver for students who wanted to go give blood. All of us have a similar story. But I would like to share two stories that are not my own to honor this day.
The first occurred on the trip to give blood. I had already been donating blood since I was 16. I have the rarest blood type in the world (AB negative) so I always try and give blood despite the fact that needles make me so queesy.
It was there that I met Rose. I have no idea how old she was, but she was old. She gave me cookies and juice and sat next to me. I asked her when she had started giving blood. Her eyes misted up and she answered “I first gave blood the day after Pearl Harbour, I was 17.” It was the day after 9/11 that I was there giving blood. Rose had devoted herself, after living through that tragedy, to a life of service helping others. What a testament to the Human Spirit.
The second story is truly not mine to tell. So I will keep it simple. I grew up across the street from an amazing family. Itlalian-American, 10 kids, loving, kind, like family to my family. My sister and I were younger than the girls in that family and so they doted on us, played with our hair, made us laugh and treated us like family. The parents were like grandparents to us. In fact, I thought they were until one day I asked my Mom why we didn’t call them ‘Grandpa’ and ‘Grandma’. One of those 10 children answered the call of duty that day and paid the ultimate price. I remember the phone call. I remember the numbness. I can’t imagine if I felt that way, what this wonderful family felt, or how they even survived it.
This is what I took from that day. Live your life as service to others and treat others like they are your very own family.