In 2001, I was weeks away from having my MBA at the age of 34. I was the president of a multinational company, traveling the world with offices in multiple countries. Under my leadership, the firm became the category leader in our field and we were on the cover of the Wall Street Journal. I had everything I thought I had ever wanted. I had a beautiful home, European company car, trendy wardrobe and jewelry collection, hot dates when I needed them for events, and a job where I earned a high-class living and traveled the world . . . with my fancy luggage, of course.
But all of that quickly changed. With a sudden turn of events, I was standing alone—and lonely—before the Lord.
My business brought me to New York quite often. On that beautiful morning in September, I was walking down Fifth Avenue with members of my team for client meetings. We noticed a plane flying low overhead, but we walked into the building and jumped on the elevator quickly, clueless that the American way of life was about to change.
The plane that flew over our heads was American Airlines Flight 11, which hit the north face of the World Trade Center North Tower (1 WTC) at 8:46 a.m. when we were on our elevator ride to our floor.
As I was on the phone with my mother, she started screaming that a second plane hit the "other tower," which I quickly dismissed. I remember saying, "Mom, you're seeing a replay." She replied, "No, I'm seeing one tower on fire and a plane hit the other tower." She, as millions did, had seen United Airlines Flight 175 hit the south side of the World Trade Center South Tower (2 WTC) at 9:03 a.m.1