As Clevelanders come back home after living through the nightmare in Vegas, Rick and Dyanne Hammer’s story speaks volumes about just what was at stake.
Their story was written all over their tear streaked faces.
Standing there in the baggage claim knowing it was a reunion that wasn't promised.
A reunion that at least 59 others won't get.
Dyanne Hammer left Seven Hills for Vegas to celebrate her brother's birthday.
She was walking back to the MGM Grand Sunday evening when the panic and chaos of the worst massacre on United States soil unfolded around her.
She found herself hoping and praying she'd see another birthday of her own.
"They were saying they had AK-47s and I was just horrified. About 25 of us hunkered down in the Walgreens. All of a sudden they said run to the back! Just get down and run to the back!" said Hammer.
Rick, Dyanne’s husband of 24 years, was on the phone, living the nightmare with her from Northeast Ohio.
"When we walked out, the SWAT team started screaming to run! Run as fast as we can in the other direction," said Hammer.
"Honestly there were a couple times that I thought it might be done for me," said Hammer.
For 59 people it was. Another 527 were injured.
“You feel so horrible for all those people. It’s all just so horrific!" said Hammer.
Dyanne still hadn't closed her eyes when that plane touched down in Cleveland Monday evening.
Then something powerful happened and turned heads in baggage claim.
This time the good kind.
Rick and Dyanne were back in each other's arms again.
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What was so much sadness, complete chaos, carnage and fear, gave way to gratitude.
Holding each other at Hopkins.
"You just put things into perspective when your life is flashing in front of you for a couple minutes," said Hammer.
As for Rick, the quiver in his lip came from somewhere deep down. Words hardly appropriate for what his heart felt.
“It feels great. I'm glad she's home. I'm just glad she's home," said Rick Hammer.
Grateful for the opportunity for another anniversary with his bride.
The Hammers will celebrate 25 years of marriage in July.