Where were you ten years ago to the day? Most of us can’t remember what we did last week, never mind a decade ago, but some dates just stick with you forever. On 11 September 2001 I was thirteen years old. I should have been at school, instead, I was at home ill with my mum who was also ill and really must have been suffering to miss a day at work. Whilst I’m sure we were feeling sorry for ourselves, who would have thought that feeling ill could be made so trivial.
I clearly remember it being around lunchtime and we were watching Crossroads on TV. The programme was interrupted for breaking news in America. The first plane had already hit the north tower and we witnessed the second plane hitting the south tower. I remember I was lying on the sofa and had acquired the art of just listening to the TV, as opposed to sitting on top of it to see what was happening. So, I did not see any of the live images and definitely didn’t understand the magnitude of the attack. At the time I wasn’t emotionally affected by the events unfolding before me, I had never even heard of the twin towers, yet remained watching it all for hours.
Over the years I have watched the various documentaries about the day, the amazing survivor stories, the brave emergency services efforts and the tragic loss of thousands of innocent lives. It wasn’t until a few years later watching these shows that I learnt that there were two further planes, the one that went into the Pentagon and the one that the passengers gained control back and crashed it into a field.
Ten years on, I have been transfixed to the television once more, much wiser and much more sympathetic, as I’ve watched the various memorial ceremonies taking place across the world. For some reason this morning three thousand people who lost their lives didn’t seem to be a massive number. However, the roll call at Ground Zero put it into perspective. Listening to the endless names from every culture imaginable made 9/11 and its significance hit home. It’s impossible to comprehend why and how human beings would want to and did commit mass murder, suicide and general terror.
Where were you on this day ten years ago...