Of course, everyone who is old enough remembers where they were and what they were doing on that terrible day, at that terrible moment.
But for one of the members of our Panera group who was working at the time for the federal government in Washington D.C. in a high-rise building not far from the Pentagon, the memory is especially salient.
She told us about a story that began circulating around her office in the days after 9/11.
According to the story, that someone had read about or heard about or had heard from someone who'd read or heard about it, some of the people who jumped from the burning towers, though blinded by the smoke that filled the building, grabbed the hand of whoever was standing next to them and the two jumped together, holding hands.
Our friend said that this story had a great effect on herself and her co-workers. They found themselves discussing whose hand they'd have wanted to reach for if it had been their building that had been hit; who, among the people they worked with every day they'd want as a "jump buddy".
But the heart of this story was that the people in the World Trade towers who reached blindly for each other's hands didn't know whose hand it was they found; it could have been the hand of any one of their co-workers, their good friend or their worst enemy. And it was this aspect of the story that most affected our friend and her co-workers; our friend said that there was a noticeable shift in the office dynamics as people now imagined the scenario of the hand of any one of their fellow workers being the last hand they ever held.
We were all moved by our friend's story. And it got us thinking and talking about if we were ever in such a moment, whose hand would we hope to be holding when we jumped from this life to the next?
Or, we wondered, could we not reach for a complete stranger to be our jump buddy?
Or what if we started thinking of every person we ever shared space with on this planet as a possible "jump buddy"?
Maybe every person is.
Everyone have a beautiful weekend. 8)