Alice Seltzer has gotten into the habit of chanting a prayer to herself before leaving on a trip, either out of state or out of the country.
The Huntington Beach resident began saying the Jewish prayer after she learned she was supposed to be aboard Flight 11, one of two airplanes that crashed into the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001.
Flight 11, which crashed into the north tower, was one of four airplanes that were hijacked by terrorists that day.
Days before Sept. 11, while vacationing in Vienna with her daughter, Doris, she asked her to change her Sept. 11 morning flight from Boston to Los Angeles for a flight on Sept. 10. Seltzer decided not to spend a night in Boston before taking the Sept. 11 flight to Los Angeles.
"I didn't want to do that because I didn't want to unpack my luggage and then pack it again at the hotel," Seltzer said.
On Sept. 10, Seltzer said she and her daughter took separate flights from Vienna. Seltzer flew from Vienna to Atlanta, and then to Los Angeles. And her daughter took a flight to Boston, then Kansas.
Seltzer, a member of Temple Isaiah of Newport Beach, said she didn't learn how close she came to death until a week later, when her daughter told her about Flight 11, the flight she decided not to take.
"She called me up and said 'You were very lucky. You were supposed to be on that plane,' " Seltzer said. "When my daughter told me, I asked for a prayer for being alive."
Radia Husain said Sept. 11 made her question her Muslim faith.
The Huntington Beach resident said the event forced her to decide whether she was going to get serious about practicing her religion.
Before Sept. 11, Husain did not wear the Hijab, the head scarf devout Muslim women wear. She began wearing it in 2003 after much study and contemplation of Islam.
"As I became more spiritual, I began to wear it," said Husain, 23, who earned has two bachelor's degrees — in political science, and in law, criminology and society — from UC Irvine.
Reflecting five years later, Husain said she loves being an American and a Muslim.