Meet Cindy Barkway. On September 10, 2001 she was in New York City with her husband for a getaway weekend.
Dave was there for work, and at five months pregnant, Cindy accompanied him.
On the morning of September 11th, she kissed her husband goodbye as he left their Times Square hotel room, to attend a meeting downtown.
Cindy was catching a flight that afternoon to return home to her toddler son, and planned on spending the morning in SOHO, a trendy neighbourhood in the lower part of the island.
In the taxi ride downtown she could see smoke, billowing in the air, in the distance.
She got out of the car and entered a drugstore that had a radio playing the news. The White House had been evacuated, and planes flew into the Pentagon as well as both World Trade Center buildings, located just down the street from where she was standing.
More and more people poured on to the streets in sheer panic and fear. Cindy made her way back to her hotel, to wait for her husband.
He did not return that day.
The next morning, Times Square was so quiet that it felt surreal to her. This is an area of midtown known for it’s brightly lit signs, along with hoards of pedestrians and traffic.
She received a call from one of her husband’s co-workers back home. With cell towers located on top of the World Trade Center buildings, sending and receiving phone calls was a challenge.
He told her that he received an email from Dave, the day before, telling him that he was on the 105th floor of the World Trade Centre and to get help.
His building was the second to go down.
It has now been nearly 17 years since that horrific day that changed the lives of so many around the world.
The following January, Cindy gave birth to a boy, naming him after his father.
On the anniversary of 9/11, she has returned to New York every year with her boys to join other families for a memorial service, or volunteer back home for the National Day Of Service.
“Every year that passed”, she says, “I was seeing New York heal as I was healing.”
She became involved with organizations like The Victims Of Crime and Canadian Coalition Against Terrorism.
In her husband’s honour, she established The David Barkway Memorial Scholarship, with funds raised from an annual golf tournament, one of Dave’s favourite activities.
Initiatives like this have helped Cindy and her family to find happiness and peace.
“It’s a process that comes one day at a time,” she says. “But, I can still see that there are a lot of good things in this life.”