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 IMG_1304.JPGto 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.



You can read more about Welles Crowther and Ling Young in the recently published book by Tom Rinaldi  

A Fast Start

The new year started out at a very fast pace.  Michigan won big in the Citrus Bowl.  We watched as the LA Kings won their 5th straight hockey game giving them a 12 point lead in their division.  And then a letter to the editor that I wrote was published!

Last week, I  wrote a letter to the editor* of the Wall Street Journal in response to a column by Daniel Henninger titled “The Year Christmas Died”.  So, with a few minor edits from my husband, the writer in the family, I sent it off never thinking that it would get published.  Chalk it up to PD to encourage me to do something so unlike me in the past.  A year ago, I never would have even considered writing a letter to the editor, much less writing anything else of substance.  I would have talked about it, but that would be as far as it went.  But after writing this blog for the last 10 months, and gaining confidence in my writing skills, nothing is off limits anymore.

I read Henninger’s opinion piece and an accompanying piece titled
“Inclusive Holidays at Cornell” the day before Christmas.  I felt I needed to say something in response, so I sat down and started to write.  I could have responded online in the comments, but for some reason, I actually emailed it to the WSJ letters to the editor.  After I hit send, I was horrified!  What if they actually use it?  A week later, a letter was printed in response from someone else, so I was relieved.  Off the hook.  But Friday night, when the Saturday WSJ was posted on line, I took a look and there it was.  I looked again in the middle of the night and it was still there.  When I got the paper in the morning, it was there too.  OMG!!!  What have I done?

So, lesson learned.  Do not write something and send it immediately even though your PD is compelling you to do so.  Whether it is a blog page or a letter to the editor, sleep on it, let it stew for a day or two, and then send it if you still need to.  Another PD moment for the books.

Happy New Year!!!




Christmas Spirit Is Crippled, but Still Alive

Jan. 1, 2016 1:24 p.m. ET

Reading Mr. Henninger’s column and the accompanying “Inclusive Holidays at Cornell,” I am dismayed by how we have as a society, given in to the demands of the “cry-bullies” and whitewashed what was once an enchanting time of the year. As a Jew growing up in the Midwest, I never felt threatened by Christmas displays in town, and in fact I looked forward to seeing the Christmas windows at major department stores.

Walking through Los Angeles this December, I had to look hard for any store windows that would be enchanting for my grandchildren with the magic of Christmas, Chanukah or any other holiday celebration. In the cause of “diversity and inclusiveness” would we not be better off encouraging everyone to display signs of their religion, and actually celebrating our differences with each other? How sad that we have instead caved in to those who go out of their way to be offended by others’ differences and insist that religious celebration be hidden from sight. We can’t learn about, much less respect, each other and live together peacefully if we cannot celebrate our differences.


Sharon L Krischer

Beverly Hills, Calif.