On this twelfth anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11, let us take a moment to think about where we were and where we might have been, were it not for a fortuitous change in plans.
September 10, 2001, we were in Boston recording a prominent researcher on her work in the field of malaria treatment and prevention in sub-Saharan Africa. We were supposed to stay the night and return on the first flights out the next day - one of us on United, the other on American. But because we managed to finish early, we called the airlines and changed our flights. Catching the last trips out that night, we winged gently back to Los Angeles in the last hours of air travel innocence any of us would ever enjoy.
That night, I slept without a care in my own bed and woke the next morning to a call from Mom. "Thank God you're okay," she said. When I asked what was up, she said, "don't worry about it. Go back to sleep."
A few minutes later another call, this one from R. "You're okay. Thank God."
"What's going on?"
"Turn on the TV."