9/11. A date etched into every person's memory as a date of devastation. When the American Dream came tumbling down to the ground, when it seemed that evil had triumphed over good. But for thousands of people it marked something even more tragic, it was they day they'd lost someone they loved. As Mac Taylor stood at Ground Zero he could still hear that ear curdling sound of the planes hitting the towers, the chaos that had followed. From the moment the second plane hit the second tower he knew that Claire had died. Him and his team of CSI's had spent days searching through the devestation, helping all that they could to help a city in need. He could still see the face of the Chief of Detectives who's been sent to tell him that Claire's body had been found in the wreckage. But still he carried on helping, searching through the rubble. Wanting to do all he could to help so another person wouldn't have to go through the grief he was experiencing. There were times when the smell of the burning rubble made him want to throw up. When he'd get home and smell the devestation still lingering on his clothes. No matter how hard he scrubbed, he couldn't remove the dirt of the Twin Towers from his skin, just like it would never remove the pain of losing the woman he loved. But still he carried on searching the wreckage.
5 years on he still missed her. It still pained him inside to know that there was nothing he could have done to help his wife. He knew that she'd died instantly when the plane had hit the tower, that it had been relatively painless. But inside to his heart it meant nothing, it couldn't bring her back. He hadn't been able to help his own wife, how was he supposed to do his job and help others? It was Stella who got through to him. She was the one there by Mac's side working through the devastation at Ground Zero when the rest of the team returned to the lab. It had been a late night and Mac was still in his office when Stella walked in and sat in front of his desk.
"There was nothing you could have done Mac, no-one saw it coming, no-one could have predicted it. The only people who know why will never talk. There'll never be a neat solution to this case., and there will most probably never be justice for you and everyone else who lost someone on that day. But life carries on Mac, you owe it to Claire and her life to deliver justice to others. You have to live life for the both of you, you may not have been able to help her, but there are so many people out there who need your help Mac, don't let them down".
And with that she walked back out the office.
That night Mac returned to his and Claire's apartment and bagged up all her clothes and possessions. The next day he deposited them at charity shops throughout the city. Over time he found comfort in his job, doing what he did best, helping victims of crime through science. Stella had been right, there were so many people left out there that he could help and deliver justice to. Every case he solved helped the grief of losing Claire seem that bit more bearable. Without fail ever Tuesday he'd come here to Ground Zero to be close to her and mark the anniversary of the last day he saw her. It was here on the site of so much devastation and pain that he felt the true impact of Stella's words. In amongst all the sadness of Ground Zero he felt hope and contentment. Like Claire's spirit was rising out of the ashes of the Twin Towers and into him. 5 years after her death she was still his reason for living and she always would be.