Have you ever met someone whose story gives you chills, or brings tears to your eyes? Jodi Clary, of Lutherville, has such a story — a story of her experiences on an early September day in 2001, when she came to believe that her late grandfather was acting as her guardian angel.
Late in the evening on Sept. 9, Jodi's 92-year-old grandfather passed away. Jodi went to work the next day "in a daze," she said. By the time she left her office in the south tower of the World Trade Center that day, Jodi had decided to drive to her parent's home that evening, then drive with her mother the next day to visit her grandmother, near Boston.
On the morning of Sept. 11, Jodi called her office to tell a receptionist that she would not be in but would return to work on the following day. Less than an hour later she received the first of many calls from people wanting to know if she was OK. It was then that Jodi learned that an airplane had struck the north tower of the World Trade Center in what the world was soon to discover was part of a coordinated terrorist attack on the United States.
Just 40 minutes into their journey north, Jodi and her mother, who were then minutes from the exit to her brother's home, in Connecticut, headed there immediately. As they watched the events in New York unfold on television, they saw a second plane hit the south tower, where Jodi worked on the 78th floor.
Throughout the day, Jodi and her co-workers talked, texted, and compiled growing lists of the missing. "It came down to four that weren't accounted for," she said.
Jodi is confident her grandfather was looking out for her that day. "I would have been [in the World Trade Center] that day," she says. "Something was telling me that I needed to go to Boston. That was not something I would have normally done."
In the months immediately following the attack, when Jodi wasn't working from her apartment, she and her co-workers frequently gathered at the home of her boss.
"We went there to work, but mainly to be together for healing," she says.
Within months of the attack on the World Trade Center, Jodi became engaged to her then-boyfriend, Jeff Clary, who watched from his apartment in Jersey City as the second plane hit the tower. Today, Jeff and Jodi are the parents of Gavin, 11, Tyler, 9, and Dylan, 6. When Jodi tells her boys about that day, they are amazed by it.
"I try not to scare them," Jodi said. "When we look at pictures, they know where my office was."
Jodi said that she expected to communicate with her friends and former co-workers on the 15th anniversary of the attacks. Although many have stayed in contact and are a part of each other's lives through social media, the simple words, "thinking of you" will make them feel most connected.