Elizabeth Kusey Essay
By Elizabeth Kusey
When our nation describes the attack on September 11th, the word miracle is not a word that comes to mind. For some people though, that word is the only reason they are still here. It is hard, even for the survivors, to call their stories miracles when all they can do is wonder why they got a second chance while thousands of others didn’t. The word miracle also becomes relevant in the stories of the people who did everything they could to live and save the lives of others. Each one of these victims tried to create a miracle. They deserve to have their stories told.
Greer Epstein, an executive director at Morgan Stanley, rarely left her office on the 67th floor of the South Tower (Park). Due to the lack of time she never took breaks (Park). On September 11th, one of her friends called to ask if she wanted to get a cigarette and talk about a meeting that was coming up (Park). For once, Epstein decided to say yes to a break (Park). While riding the elevator, there was a jolt which was ignored because the elevator had always acted weird (Park). When Epstein went outside she saw people staring at the sky and debris falling around them (Park). She looked to find a massive hole in the North Tower (Park). Seconds later a plane flew into her office in the South Tower (Park). That cigarette break saved Greer Epstein’s life. Greer Epstein’s story is a miracle.
Elise O’Kane, A United Airline’s flight attendant, had wanted to work her usual flight from Boston to Los Angeles that month (Park). When scheduling her flights for September, O’Kane accidentally received the wrong schedule (Park). She traded all her flights with other attendants except for the flight on 9/11 (Park). When she tried to go back and fix it, the computer system froze (Park). It was too late for her to make any changes in her schedule (Park). O’Kane was not happy (Park). On the shuttle to the airport, she sat next to another flight attendant named Robert Fangman (Park). He was ecstatic to be on the flight to Los Angeles, the flight O’Kane had wanted (Park). Fangman, along with O’Kane’s friends and colleagues on that United Flight 175, were killed as the plane crashed into the South Tower that day (Park). Elise O’Kane’s story is a miracle.
Although many people would say that these survivors are some of the luckiest people on earth, these miracles came with a price. Friends, coworkers, and even loved ones, were killed while they remained living. Survivors were left wondering why they were the ones to be saved. What had they done to deserve it? What should they do to make up for it? The hardest part, O’Kane explained, was when people would say “God has a plan for you,” or “You were meant to be here.”(Park) She felt like she had to “give back and fulfill herself” as a result of her survival (Park). The experience was absolutely traumatizing. Many survivors were, and still are, left with fear (Park). Greer Epstein now advises people to focus on life over a job (Park). “Don’t put it off. Take your vacation. Take your time with family.”(Park) Anything can happen.
Danny Lewin was the first victim of the 9/11 attack (Raskin). Traveling for work on his daily scheduled flight, Lewin was a passenger on Flight 11 (Raskin). He was a 31-year old Internet entrepreneur and an Israeli-American, who served in a very elite counterterrorism unit of the Israel Defense Force (Raskin). During the attack Lewin got up from his seat and began to fight one of the terrorists to try to prevent them from hijacking the plane (Raskin). Lewin was killed in this struggle with the terrorist (Raskin). It was determined that al-Suqami most likely killed Lewin by slashing his throat from behind as he attempted to try to stop the hijacking (Raskin). The time of his death was somewhere between 8:15 and 8:20 a.m.(Raskin). Lewin tried to create a miracle.
Randy Scott worked for Euro Brokers Inc. on the 84th floor, very close to the plane’s point of impact on the South Tower (Todd). During the attack, a note was recovered on the ground by the tower (Todd). It read “84th floor west office 12 people trapped.”(Todd) The note was taken to a guard at a Federal Reserve Bank immediately after it was found (Todd). By using a bloody thumbprint that was left on the note and the handwriting displayed, it was discovered that this note was written by Randy Scott, who most likely used a chair or desk to smash the window and send the note down to the street (Todd). He did everything he could to create a miracle.
Miracles are not something someone can just receive when they ask. They do not just happen to anyone and everyone. Miracles are rare, strange, and unpredictable, and always come with questions that can never be answered. Danny Lewin, Randy Scott, and all the other victims who worked for that miracle, are examples for others to come. In a way their stories are still miracles, as they show human kind what true bravery and courage looks like. As we mourn these lives, and the thousands of others lost on September 11th, 2001, look at the lessons that come from these miracle stories. Always live life to the fullest and fight for a miracle in any situation.
Park, Madison. “Small Choices, Saved Lives: Near Misses of 9/11.” CNN. Cable News. Network, 05 Sept. 2011. Web. 15 Sept. 2015. http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/09/03/near.death.decisions/
Raskin, Molly Knight. “The First Victim of Sept. 11”. Slate. Web. 15 Sept. 2015. http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/history/2013/09/danny_lewin_the_first_victim_ on_9_11_and_an_architect_of_the_internet.html
Todd, Brian, and Dugald McConnell. “Note Lets Family Know 9/11 Victim Went down Fighting.” CNN. Web. 15 Sept. 2015.http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/11/us/9-11-lost-note/