Final Thoughts

There are many things I remember about that September morning. The cool, crisp air. The beautiful blue sky. I had just arrived at work later than I’d intended after dropping my kids off at school and flipped on the radio to listen to my favorite talk show.

Instead, I heard news bulletins that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.

I remember how minute by minute, hour by hour, the day became a nightmare I wished I could wake from. When I stood in front of a television in the office, watching the towers collapse, I wondered how it could be happening in our country. I knew the world would never be the same.

But in the days that followed, I learned something about humanity that surprised me. It came from the messages that were left by people who had died that day.

Mark Bingham was a passenger on United Flight 93, a hijacked airplane apparently headed for the White House on 9/11. He and a group of passengers tried to overpower the hijackers.  His mother, Alice Hoglan recalls what he said in his phone call to her:

I want you to know I love you very much, and I’m calling you from the plane. We’ve been taken over. There are three men who say they’ve got a bomb.” 

Fifteen minutes later, Flight 93 crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, killing 40 crew members and passengers.

Moisas Rivas was a cook at Windows of the World, on the top floor of the World Trade Center. His stepdaughter, Linda, received a call from him at 9:02 a.m. on 9/11, and later gave her mother a message from Moisas:

“Yes, Mommy, he said not to worry. He’s OK, Mommy, not to worry. He’s OK. Mommy — he say, he love you — no matter what happen, he love you.”

What struck me about these messages–about all of the messages I heard and read–was that the one thing these people wanted their loved ones to know was how much they loved them. In what they believed would be the last minutes of their lives, what they needed to say above anything else was, not, “Do you love me?” but instead, “I love YOU.”

In those terrifying moments, when I expected a person would need to be comforted and loved, instead, they needed to express love.

If you had only one thing left to say, what would it be?

Say it today.

This entry was posted in 9/11, History, love, nostalgia and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Final Thoughts

  1. Jan Morrill says:

    Reblogged this on The Red Kimono and commented:

    Say it today.


  2. Erinleary says:

    When life comes down to the final moments, all that matters is connecting with another. I have held the hands of my mom and dad and sister and no words were wasted on politics, money, or work – only love mattered at the end. It is a powerful reminder of living your life in a connected way and sharing your love when and where ever you can with others. Thanks for sharing this.


  3. Thanks, Jan, for the reminder. I’d quite forgotten what day approaches us. Yep, best not make plans too far ahead, because who knows what might happen. All we can count on is right now. So make the most of it.


  4. Wow., You made me cry.
    When I was growing up, my family never said, “I love you.” But, sometime after Mom and Dad divorced, we all begin ending every conversation with those words. A verbal talisman that subtlety, and clearly stated, IN CASE THESE ARE OUR LAST WORDS, I LOVE YOU. A couple of nights ago, as mom and I hung up the phone, she stopped the goodbye routine, but saying, “Wait now. I want you to know, I really do love you. I’m not just saying it. I love you.”
    Just words. But so important.


  5. rgayer55 says:

    I loved this post, Jan. Thanks for reminding us to make time for what’s really important.


  6. Pingback: Life Replays: Remembering 9-11 | kateschannel

  7. Linda Apple says:

    I also remembered back to a conversation you and I had on our way to OKC two years ago and wrote about that. You were an inspiration then and you still are today. I’m so glad that you are my friend and I love you dearly.


  8. Thank you Jan. I’m inspired by you and your talent every day. You are a wonderful friend.


  9. Linda Joyce says:

    Thank you for a memorable post.
    That day, my mom, sister and neice were in the air, on their way to Japan…someday, I’ll write my sister’s story.
    I took a class this year and toward the end of it, we had to write our life-time acheivement award, then read it to the class. The object of the lession: often we listen and hear the negative voices in our heads and don’t take time to listen to the positive.

    This was my concluding statement: To sum this up: what I want the most, and what I want to give the most, the thing that makes life worth living to me is love.

    I believe there is no greater power than love.

    Linda Joyce


  10. Oh wow, you made me tear-up as well. When you take everything in life and boil it down, the only thing that matters is love. Charlie knew that in Soldiers From the Mist and didn’t cross over until he made sure I told the world. But, I didn’t mean to hock my book. It’s just truth. And Ruth is truth. So, that being said, ‘I love you, Jan.”


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