I just finished “The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11,” by Garrett M. Graff. It’s a remarkable book — a book that had me gasping, in tears, and often at a loss for words.
In it are hundreds of stories of the day — stories, of course, told by the survivors of September 11th, 2001. So many of the stories are ones where a single decision may have saved a life: The chef who stopped in to get his glasses adjusted before heading up to his floor; the salesman who was told that his tie didn’t match his shirt, so he headed back to his desk to get a new one; the woman who was fired from her job on the afternoon of September 10th; the dad, who took the ferry to the office, and lived, while his son, who took the train, did not.
Stephen Blihar, an officer with the NYPD, described thinking back upon the day like this: “It was a day of lefts and rights.”
I can’t stop thinking about that phrase: A day of lefts and rights. There are so many choices we make — in a day, in a career, in a lifetime. We agonize over the big choices, when often the small ones — go left, or go right? — are the ones with the most impact. We make the best choices we have, with the best information we have, but who knows what will come of all of it?
Anyway, read the book. I can’t recommend it enough.
I took that photo, in October 2018, of the view of New York, looking north from 1 World Trade Center after a thunderstorm.