When you get to actually sit next to someone who probably by all accounts should be dead and come away with a sense of how lucky we all are to be here only by the grace of god, you realize exactly the beauty of life and to take every moment and live life each and every day to its fullest.
A nice man came into a local bar and sat down next to me. He looked like he was not from the area only because everyone pretty much knows every one who goes and comes into Dunne’s in White Plains, NY, the “Cheers-like” watering hole. I usually do my best, having been a bartender, to make travelers feel welcomed and struck up a conversation with him and after a few casual comments we a had a nice dialogue.
He explained that he indeed was in town on business. He looked up “Irish Bar” and found Dunne’s in the queue, so, with it being only a few blocks away, wound up sitting next to me having a pint within the hour.
As the conversation progressed, I explained that I’d driven across the country this past August and we traded stories about our experiences in travel. He, working on a more international scale, had a collection of wonderful experiences which had similarities. The one we almost had in common is the eerily disturbing revelation we shared that is the basis for this story.
I explained to him that my wife and I traveled from California to New York having taken the northern route in a matter of five days over the summer. Commencing from Lake Tahoe with overnight stops in Wyoming, Nebraska, St Louis, and Ohio Then finally, stopping at the Flight 93 Memorial site in Shanksville, PA to pay respects before heading out on the final leg to New York.
Soft-spoken and unassuming, Cullen Speakman, the well-traveled engineer, turned and quietly said, “Yeah, we were supposed to be on Flight 93.” Incredibly, in a fateful coincidence, he changed plans to fly out of Baltimore instead of Newark as did other members of the wedding party who were headed to San Francisco for a pending Lake Tahoe wedding.
Below is the 9/11 travel journal entries he sent to me: