A Decision Forever
We’ve never met, but please read what I have to say. You see, I’m one of the few people, maybe the only person in the world that knows how you feel. If you read this letter to the end, there’s a chance, just a chance, you won’t have to live through the hell I have endured for the last thirty-four years.
Like millions of people around the world, I sat glued to the television set. I watched the second plane. I watched the clouds of smoke as the buildings disintegrated. I watched people run for their lives.
In the following days, I heard families plead for information, saw countless images of lost souls taped to poles on the street, and cried every time each moment was replayed.
But I knew I had to find you and write to you as soon as I heard the question raised – Why did the Port Authority announce over the broadcast system to “…stay at your desks. There’s no need to panic.” ? You told people to stay calm and stay at their desks. It was your voice they heard, your voice they trusted.
Please, please keep reading this letter. I understand how you feel at this moment. I know you seriously considered suicide, maybe deciding against it because of a struggling elder parent or needy grandchild. You’re lucky if someone needs you. So, you didn’t take your life with a gun or, God forbid, by jumping to your death like hundreds that day. But that doesn’t mean you haven’t ended up in hell trying to drown the memories with alcohol or blur the past with pills. It was your voice they heard, but it wasn’t your decision.
I know because I made a mistake that fatally changed men’s lives, too. It was a long time ago or it was yesterday. I was a champion athlete competing in the ’72 Olympics. I’d just turned twenty and it was the first time I had been out of the United States. The first time I was away from my parents. The first time I was really on my own. [cont.]