I want to write a poignant post about where I was on September 11, 2001 and what I was doing. But instead I’d like to take a minute to tell you about a woman I grew up with. 

Her name was Madeline Amy Sweeney and she was a flight attendant on Flight 11, the first flight to hit the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. 

When the hijackers took over the flight, she was able to get on the phone and relate valuable information about the hijackers to her supervisor before the impact. The moment of her death literally marks the beginning of this horrible nightmare that has been echoing ever since.

I grew up with her and her brother in a neighborhood that was ironically right next to air traffic control for the Boston area, and a sweeter person you could never meet.

The weirdest things stay on your mind in these situations. It was actually on September 11 that I found out that her real first name was Madeline and not Amy, which everyone called her. Why that has always stuck with me, I have no idea, but it has.

In the last moments of her life Amy took actions that were incredibly selfless and courageous even without considering the threat she was facing. And if you consider what she was facing it is almost inconceivable. So many of us will never have to make that kind of choice to know if we could take the same kind of actions.

I could work to help other the rest of my life and not make a fraction of the sacrifice that Amy and her family gave that day. I wanted to make sure that she is not forgotten today, 15 years later. But maybe we can each take a piece of that and help a stranger each day for as long as we can. Maybe then we can slowly begin to move this world back toward peace one small act at a time.

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