90th Floor Miracle

September 12, 2014

Thankful for the life of one of my best friends in the world today, Chris Egan.

September 11, 2014

Thirteen years ago today, I was in my home office, when my husband (then fiance') called me from Troy, Alabama, to tell me that the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane.  He asked me "Which building is your friend Chris in?" I said "He's in World Trade One."  Jimbo said "Pray, because it hit around the 90th floor...and it doesn't look good."  

Chris worked on the 90th floor of WTC 1. I immediately ran and turned on MSNBC in time to see the second plane hit, while frantically trying to dial Chris's work number and cell phone.  What was weird about the timing, is that we talk almost every morning around that time- nine o'clock- always have.  Chris was really excited about the newly opened Krispy Kreme doughnuts in the food court, and I was praying that he was downstairs getting a hot glazed doughnut.  Phone lines were down and jammed all over Manhattan, and I couldn't get through, not to mention the cell tower on WTC 1 was damaged.

He worked for an international bank at the time, so I called his home office in Luxembourg, thinking that they would have  a contact for everyone there.  They informed me that Chris had made it down to the plaza with five others, but that someone thought they saw him go back inside the building to help.  They believed he was dead. I refused to believe it, and knew that if ANYONE could make it out, he could.  He smokes,  and always illegally smoked in the stairwell on the 90th floor.  I knew that he knew ALL of the exits.

My daughter, now a registered nurse, was in elementary school.  I picked her up from school, and we went straight to the Red Cross to give blood- believing that there would be survivors who would need blood.  We sat with hundreds of others also there to give blood, as we watched the horrific scenes replayed over and over on the big screen television on the wall.  Then, with strangers, we watched the President's address.  It was surreal.  Strangers were there together, crying and hugging one another.  People from all backgrounds and socio-economic statuses were there to truly give of themselves, to give their blood to hope and make a difference. In  Alabama, so far away,  we didn't know what else to do...and I think most people were desperate to do something, anything.  It was 2am before it was my turn to roll up my sleeve, and the nurse couldn't find a vein.  I remember telling him "Then you'd better get a ziplock and an x-acto blade, because my friend is in that tower and you are getting some of my blood tonight. He may need this...."  Finally, another tech came over and found the vein.  The Red Cross didn't close that night- they worked all night long in the Birmingham Southside office.

I called every hospital in Manhattan looking for Chris.  I called the make-shift morgue that the Port Authority had set up in New Jersey at a park, thinking that they would have so many bodies to process, yet they had hardly none.  I emailed every person on every email he had every forwarded me, hoping that someone knew where he was and had heard from him...no one answered.  I called the police precincts and a cop with a heavy Brooklyn accent took my number and was so kind to call me back and check to see if I had found my friend days later.  It was a frantic search that lasted for days via telephone that ended in no information to be had until Friday.

On September14th, I received a call from Luxembourg informing me that they had been in touch with Chris, and that he was indeed alive, and to tell me that he would call as soon as he could get a phone line out, because the phone lines were still so jammed.  I talked to him on the 16th, and it was the best phone call I have ever gotten in my life.  Never had I been so glad to hear my friend's voice on the other end of the line.

Chris is like a brother to me.  We became friends in 1998 shortly after my Grandfather died and he was the best friend a person could have when going through something like that.  We still talk every day and have shared every part of our lives from his divorce, to crazy stories about our children, dating and marriage, career decisions, home purchases, the whole nine yards. Now he has a new love, Karen, and they are so happy. He has such a full, wonderful life.  He has four beautiful children who would have been devastated that day, had he not returned.  One of his sons watched it all on television, while a boy at school kept saying to him "Your daddy's dead...your daddy's dead."   Chris said that for days his son, Timmy, wouldn't let go of him.

I am thankful to still have my friend with us and that I know God still has great plans for his life.  I am thankful that his children weren't orphaned that day.  I am thankful that he lived so that Karen could have the love that he has in his heart showered into her life.  With all of that being said, I cannot fathom what the families who lost their Dad, Husband, Grandfather, Mother, Wife, Grandmother, Sister, Brother, Best friend, Fiance', Neighbor, Son, Daughter, or Co-worker, went through that day and the weeks following.

My heart breaks for them all, and I vow to NEVER FORGET.
The outpouring of love in the days that followed 9-11, were like the days in Alabama following the tornadoes.  I wish that it didn't take a terrorist attack or a natural disaster for us to all truly show the love that is in all of our hearts to one another on a daily basis.  As we mourn for the dead, and celebrate the living, let's try to love one another a little more.
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  1. This Chris sounds like a great guy!

    1. Wow!! THE Chris?! Beautiful story!! #NEVERforget


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