I wrote this 5 years ago on the 15th anniversary of 9/11. It is worth reading again now as we remember the 20th anniversary. It was a defining moment in all of our lives that we will not forget.
Where were you 15 years ago? It is one of those moments that we will never forget. My daughter was at school in Michigan and called me at 6:30 am. “Turn the TV on now!” she almost shrieked. “Tell Daddy not to go to work.” (At the time he was working in the tallest building in Los Angeles, which we later learned was also a possible target.) I ran out to our converted garage/gym where my husband was working out, turned on the TV and we watched in transfixed horror as the Towers fell. Our lives changed forever in that moment.
In January 2015, my husband and I traveled with friends to Bangkok, Cambodia and Viet Nam. When we arrived in Siem Reep, Cambodia for a river cruise, we heard that there was a 9/11 survivor on our tour and we met her the next day and learned her story.
Ling Young was working in the South tower when the plane hit. She was found in the 78th floor lobby by a young man, Welles Crowther, who escorted her to safety before going back to find other survivors. Unfortunately, this very special young man, known as the man with the red bandana, did not survive. His story — and hers — have been told eloquently by ESPN in the documentary “The Man in the Red Bandana” and in the Wall Street Journal just yesterday by Peggy Noonan. We spent much of the next two weeks with Ling, learning more about her incredible story and strength of character to survive with such a positive attitude. She is a beautiful person with a beautiful soul; it is perhaps for those reasons that she has become an unofficial spokesperson for both the survivors and those whose lives were cut short that awful day. And we were honored to get to spend an evening with her and her husband, Don, when they recently visited Los Angeles.
Ling, you are an inspiration to all of us. We cannot thank you enough and are proud to call you our friend.