Welcome to our Parade.com weekly essay sequence Novel Advice in partnership with Friends & Fiction, a web-based neighborhood hosted by bestselling authors Mary Kay AndrewsKristin HarmelKristy Woodson HarveyPatti Callahan Henry and Mary Alice Monroe. Every Wednesday, you’ll get a brand new life classes essay from one of many writers, in addition to the prospect to debate the themes of it later that night time on Facebook Live! Today, Kristin Harmel talks with former CNN morning anchor Daryn Kagan about 9/11.

Twenty years in the past this week, Daryn Kagan, then one among CNN’s morning anchors, was sitting within the make-up room of CNN’s Atlanta studios together with her co-anchor, Leon Harris, when a producer got here in, simply previous 8:46 a.m. on a Tuesday morning.

“We’re seeing this thing out of New York,” the producer stated shortly. “A plane has hit the World Trade Center. You might want to watch what’s happening.”

Along with the remainder of the world, Kagan and Harris spent the subsequent a number of minutes assuming the crash had been, at worst, a horrible mistake, and at greatest, an remoted incident. As they scrambled to complete in make-up and take their locations on set, the hypothesis was coming in shortly. Had it been a small airplane that by some means veered off target? Was it conceivable that it may have been intentional? “At that point,” says Kagan, “the idea that it could be anything more than a private plane was beyond the realm of possibility.”

But then, at 9:03 a.m., with Kagan and Harris on the anchor desk, every part shifted straight away. “We were on a live shot of the Twin Towers,” Kagan says, “and we saw the second plane hit live on the air. What we knew was possible changed at that moment forever.”

The world itself modified endlessly, too. Twenty years in the past this week, individuals across the globe watched in horror, lots of them tuning in to Kagan’s broadcast on CNN, as United Airlines Flight 175 slammed into the south tower of the World Trade Center, 17 minutes after American Airlines Flight 11 had collided with the north tower. Thirty-four minutes later, at 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon, and 26 minutes after that, at 10:03 a.m., United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a subject in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

Related: Exclusive Video: 9/11 Survivor Tom Canavan Shares His Personal Experience Escaping the Towers 

For many individuals around the globe who watched dwell, Kagan, who calmly delivered the information because it unfolded, will endlessly be part of their reminiscence of that chilling morning.

But whereas she stayed unruffled on digital camera, behind the scenes, Kagan was panicking. She couldn’t attain her sister, Kallan, who lived simply north of the World Trade Center in Greenwich Village. “Here I was covering the biggest story of my career so far, and I was frantically trying to get in touch with my baby sister,” she says. “People forget that the people you watch on the news have their own stories too. Everyone has a story, and that was my story that day.”

Kagan realized a couple of hours later that Kallan was protected, however as was the case with so many individuals, that day started to alter her life. “It set me on the path on that personal journey of discovering what would become really important,” she says at this time. “But first, it made me hungrier to chase my career.”

The subsequent few years took her to Kuwait as a struggle correspondent, the place, on the similar time, she was fighting a letdown in a private relationship. When she returned from her CNN task within the Middle East, and he or she didn’t obtain a promotion she anticipated, one thing in her shifted.

“I was so invested in the do up until that point, the things I felt I had to do for work,” she says. “But from that point forward, it became about the be. There was still plenty to do professionally, but my perspective kind of cracked open, and I began to look at the world differently. I realized, if I keep doing things the same way, it will be like watching the same movie over and over. If I make a change, at least there will be a new movie.”

In 2006, Kagan left CNN after the community didn’t renew her contract, and a brand new journey certainly started. “I knew I didn’t want to do more traditional news at that point in my life,” she says. “I loved everything I got to do at CNN, but I realized my favorite stories were always the uplifting ones. It was my sister Kallan who said, ‘Why don’t you launch a website and become your own media company and be your own boss?’”

Related: 9/11 Facts to Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Flight 93, Pentagon and World Trade Center Attacks

And so she did, founding a web site, DarynKagan.com, as a spot to share good information—constructive tales of individuals doing good on the earth. She additionally launched a column, What’s Possible, which is syndicated nationally by means of Cox Newspapers, adopted by a ebook of her collected columns, Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, and My Dog, Always My Dog.

And alongside the way in which, she discovered a brand new life, one crammed with the type of excellent news she shares with others. Married since 2012 to IT advisor Trent Swanson, she can also be the mom to 2 daughters she by no means anticipated to have.

“I married a single dad who was raising his young daughter alone because her mother had passed away,” Kagan says. “We married and I legally adopted Kendall. A year before I met them, I had signed up to be a mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, and my little sister from the program, Ro, came to live with us full-time as well.”

Related: Watch John Stewart’s Daily Show 9/11 Monologue and Speeches for First Responders

And now, 20 years previous the day that started to alter the course of her life, Kagan is about to launch a brand new enterprise: The Good News Lady, a streaming present on the brand-new streaming platform LoCo+, coming this fall.

“I think it’s just as important to be inspired as it is to be informed,” Kagan says. “It’s not to suggest that bad things don’t happen. But even in the darkest times, there are heroes.”

Twenty years after the September 11 assaults, together with her life utterly reworked, Kagan—who will endlessly be part of many individuals’s recollections of that fateful morning—is a kind of heroes. She’s discovered a strategy to observe the highway of a high-profile media profession to a spot that feels fulfilling personally in addition to professionally—and within the course of, she’s giving viewers a brand new method to take a look at the information.

“I just think there’s something for all of us to do,” she says, reflecting on the teachings she has taken together with her from her seat within the CNN anchor chair on September 11, 2001. “There were people in the towers who could have run, but who stayed to help others out. Then there were the ultimate heroes who rushed into the building. There were people who showed up and helped hang all those flyers, people who started charities afterwards, reporters who did things, people who stood up for the survivors and the children and family of the victims. There’s always something each of us can do, and sometimes, it’s just kindness.

“That’s the question we get to ask ourselves,” she provides. “It’s not that we all have to be the firefighter rushing into a building, but we can all ask, ‘What’s the thing I can do?’ even if it’s just to be kind. That matters.”

Next, The Most Powerful Quotes Remembering 9/11 on the Upcoming 20th Anniversary

Friends & Fiction is a web-based neighborhood, weekly dwell internet present, and podcast based and hosted by bestselling authors Mary Kay AndrewsKristin HarmelKristy Woodson HarveyPatti Callahan Henry, and Mary Alice Monroe, who’ve written greater than 90 novels between them and are printed in additional than 30 languages. Catch them and their unbelievable writer company dwell each Wednesday at 7pm ET on the Friends & Fiction Facebook group page or their YouTube Channel. Follow them on Instagram and, for weekly updates, subscribe to their newsletter.

Kristin Harmel is the New York Times bestselling, USA Today bestselling, and #1 worldwide bestselling writer of greater than a dozen novels, together with The Forest of Vanishing StarsThe Book of Lost Names, and The Winemaker’s Wife. Her novels are printed in 29 languages. A former reporter for PEOPLE journal and contributor to the nationwide tv morning present The Daily Buzz, she is the co-founder and co-host of the favored internet sequence and podcast Friends & Fiction. Follow her on InstagramFacebook, and KristinHarmel.com.

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