In the next few days, most, if not all Americans, will be thinking about Sept. 11, 2001. Memories of that day come back to me every year. It was an unforgettable day, but despite the horrific circumstances, one moment of my 9/11 experience actually gave me hope.
My husband, Ilan, and I left for Nice, France, on Sept. 10, 2001. When we boarded our flight we were thinking of nothing but a fun vacation with friends. When we landed on Sept. 11 and learned what had happened, we sensed the world had abruptly changed and had suddenly become a darker, more frightening place.
In the days that followed, Ilan and I wondered how our lives could ever be the same. When we felt we needed a break from the horrific images on the TV, we wandered out to stroll in Saint Paul de Vance, a lovely and picturesque French village not far from where we were staying. We came upon a small boutique with a huge, hand-lettered sign in the window. It read, “We stand in solidarity with our American friends. American tourists are welcome to call home from our shop without cost.”
This small, kind gesture by a French business owner gave us a glimmer of promise at a dark time in America’s history. And 10 years later, as we reflect on where we were that fateful day, we can remember not only remember the loved ones we lost but also the kindness shown by complete strangers as well as friends all over the world. It’s a memory that, each day, reminds me that my idea of calling our company “Friendly Planet” was no mistake after all.