It was my wife.
I had been on an American Airlines flight heading
for L.A., after all - and at that time, not much else was
known about the first plane that struck the World Trade
I thought she had to be misunderstanding what she had seen
Would that she hadâ€¦.
So that day, when family and friends were so dear and
precious to us all, I spent in a hotel room in
It was perhaps the longest day - loneliest night -
of my life.
In fact, I was to spend the next several days in Dallas -
there were no planes flying, no rental cars to be had -
separated from home and family by hundreds of
insurmountable miles for three interminably long days.
When I finally was able to get a car and begin that two day
drive home, it was a long, lonely drive, but it gave me a
lot of time to think - to pray - and to treasure the things
I was still able to come home to.
Most of that drive was a blur, just mile after endless mile
of open road.
There was, however, one incident I will never
Somewhere in the middle of Arkansas, a group of
Hell's Angels bikers was coming up around me.
A particularly scruffy looking guy with a long beard led
the pack on a big bike - rough looking.
But unfurled out behind him on the bike was an enormous
At that moment, for the first time in 72 hours, I felt a
sense of peace - the comfort you feel inside when you know
you are going - home.
Five years hence, I can still feel that ache of being
separated from those I love - and still remember the warmth
I felt when I saw that biker gang drive by me flying our
On not a few mornings since that awful day, I think
how many went to work, how many boarded a plane, not
realizing that they would not get to come home again.
How many sacrificed their lives so that others could go
How many still put their lives on the line every day - here
and abroad - to help keep us and our loved ones safe.
We take a lot for granted in this life, nothing more
cavalierly than that there will be a tomorrow to set the
record straight, to right wrongs inflicted, to tell our
loved ones just how precious they are.
As we remember that most awful of days, and the loss
of those no longer with us, let's all take a moment to
treasure what we have - and those we have to share it with