September 11, 2001 ... A father died, careers were changed, and security for three families was never to be the same.
Some of us have family we are born into, while others of us have extended family members we choose.
At 7:15 that morning I spoke with my son's "Uncle Dre" (Andre Louissaint) who lived in Queens, NY. We were both rushing off to our prospective jobs at P&O Ned Lloyd Container in Charleston and Pitney Bowes in Lower Manhattan.
At work I was processing equipment orders in my cubicle when someone said that a plane hit one of the World Trade Center's towers. Since I had lived in New York, my initial reaction was that a small plane had hit it again. But then as I went to a television, I watched a replay of the first tower being hit. As the network immediately went to live coverage of the aftermath suddenly, I saw a plane hit the other tower.
My knees buckled beneath me and I started to cry as it hit me that Dre could be in that building! He worked in the support department and was constantly at the Towers assisting his clients. Over the next couple of hours, his family tried to page him, but received no response. It would be hard to imagine life without him or how to break the news to my 5-year-old son, who had been adjusting to the death of my brother recently. Dre had boys in kindergarten and first grade.
Finally, Dre was able to call us from a jewelry store in Midtown Manhattan. He had left the area of the towers earlier that morning before the first plane hit at 8:46 a.m. He lost friends on that day. He has since left from New York.
In the days that followed, my son, Alexander, heard a story on the Tom Joyner Morning Show about an elementary school boy from New Jersey who lost his father. Alexander decided to sell some toys and send the money and a letter to the family. Over the next several months the two boys were pen pals and sent sports items to each other. For a brief time they learned that life could have normalcy in it.
In the months after that tragic day, I lost my job due to "global reduction" since parts of the port couldn't function due to the heightened security. Unfortunately, during those months, the containers stayed on ships, the railroads and trucks had no product to deliver. My career path changed completely.
Today, as I look at my two photos of the World Trade Center towers, and a reunion several years later in New York City, I reflect on how it takes but a moment to lose a sense of security -- but with inner strength and family support, it can be found again.
Katie Lopez is a Moncks Corner resident.