In 2001, I took a girls trip to New York City with four friends. We were on a mission during our time in the city to shop from street vendors and buy fake designer purses. Our trip occurred before there were efforts to stop the selling of such fake items or awareness about how buying such items can harm the fashion industry. I have not bought any knockoff items since this trip, but we had so much fun walking the streets of New York and shopping together. Because of how much shopping we did, we had to buy an extra suitcase in order to ensure our spoils made it home.
I remember one day when we were shopping from street vendors in the shadows of the World Trade Center. A police officer approached us several times, shaking his head and saying, with a smile, “Ladies, ladies, ladies. You know buying these things isn’t right.” He approached us several times in this good-natured manner, and each time we would resume shopping once he walked away. We enjoyed joking back and forth and ended up taking a picture with him.
Our trip ended a few days later and we arrived home in Birmingham on September 9th. On September 11th, I watched in horror as the streets I had shopped on just two days before became scenes of disaster as the World Trade Center was attacked by terrorists.
My first thought was of the policeman that we joked with on the streets. I don’t remember his name, but I prayed that he was ok. I have thought of him a million times since then, and I wonder, was he there? My husband Neal is a career fireman and as a battalion chief he manages disasters on a much smaller scale than the disaster of 9/11. I have seen through him and his friends the brotherhood of kindred spirits that exists among first responders. They mourned for their brothers and sisters in New York that were affected by the attacks.
On this day of remembrance, my thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of 9/11 victims and also with our country as a whole. May we live each day to the fullest and never take our freedoms for granted.