The terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, were a harrowing, heartbreaking moment in history — but they also inspired, strengthened and further united the United States in rebuilding not only the rubble, but the patriotism and spirit that define the nation.
These stars all had unique experiences on 9/11. Some cheated death, some saved lives, some were moved to action. Read on, reflect and get inspired. These colors don’t run.
Mark Wahlberg was scheduled for Flight 93 but canceled at the last minute, and it saved his life -- but also shook him to his core. He described his decision as an impulsive one, leaving his hometown of Boston a week earlier than scheduled to hang out with a buddy named "Rasta Phil" in Toronto.
He joked, "Don't tell him he saved my life or he'll want a big check. Actually, I never bring up 9/11 with him ... I can't."
When he reflects on the day, Wahlberg insists that he could have changed the outcome of the fateful flight. "We certainly would have tried to do something to fight," Wahlberg said. "I've had probably over 50 dreams about it."
Sarah Ferguson, ex-wife to Prince Andrew, narrowly missed being a casualty of the 9/11 strikes on the World Trade Center. "Fergie," as she was affectionately dubbed, was slated to go to the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001, for her Chances for Children Charity. However, Ferguson was running late doing an interview with Matt Lauer on the 'TODAY' show, and it saved her life.
Gwyneth Paltrow saved a woman's life on 9/11 by almost killing her first. Paltrow was driving to her yoga class when she stopped short in an intersection to avoid hitting a jaywalking woman named Lara Lundstrom Clarke. The pair stopped and started repeatedly before either of them made it past the intersection, and as a result, Clarke missed a train to the World Trade Center -- and survived the devastation. Clarke later went on to call Paltrow's accidental intervention a "'Sliding Doors' moment." She explained, "If I had made that train I would have been at my desk on the 77th floor of 2 World Trade Center."
Paltrow later said, "It still gives me chills. I can't quite believe how many other people changed the course of strangers' lives that day."
Grammy winner Patti Austin was supposed to be on United 93 from Boston to San Francisco, but her mother had a stroke, causing her to reschedule the flight for a day earlier. Were it not for her Michael Jackson tribute performance being moved to a day later, Austin would have been on the flight that crashed into a Shenksville, Penn., field, killing everyone on board. Austin later said, "I felt that my life had been saved for some specific reason ... I have yet to figure that out, but I do a lot of charity work now, which I was doing before, but I do a lot more."
Seth MacFarlane was booked for American Airlines Flight 11 on Sept. 11, 2001, but a mix-up in his itinerary saved his life. MacFarlane's travel agent told him the flight left at 8:15AM, but it was actually scheduled to depart at 7:45AM. The 'Family Guy' creator arrived at Logan Airport shortly after boarding closed for the flight and was forced to wait for the next plane -- and an hour later, the flight crashed in the North Tower, killing everyone on board.
MacFarlane immediately called his family to let them know he wasn't on the flight, and later explained how it affected him.
"After the fact it was sobering, but people have a lot of close calls; you're crossing the street and you almost get hit by a car," he said. "... This one just happened to be related to something massive. I really can't let it affect me because I'm a comedy writer. I have to put that in the back of my head."
MacFarlane also admitted that booze played a role in his missed flight and cheated death. "I was booked on that flight and I was drinking the night before and hung over and I missed the plane by about 10 minutes. It was a very close call for me ... alcohol is our friend. I think that’s the moral of that story."
Lady Gaga was in New York City on 9/11 and watched the tragedy from the rooftop playground at her school, the Convent of the Sacred Heart. "As a New Yorker, it's very intense," she said of the experience. "I've never really spoken about this before, but I was in New York on September 11 and I watched the Towers fall with all my girlfriends from the roof of our school. The whole city was covered in ashes."