In some ways the dreadful events of 9/11 seem so long ago, but in others they seem like they happened only yesterday. Certainly, the memories of that awful day are as vivid today as they were ten years ago.
Everyone has their own memories of that day, but for me I was in Year 8 in high school. I was ill, so I was in bed when the first plane hit a little after 10:45pm Canberra time. The first I heard about it was when I got up the next morning and Mum informed me that some planes had crashed. I decided that I would watch one of the mid-morning news bulletins on the television, and turned the TV on a few minutes early. The TV was tuned to a station which wasn’t due to air a new bulletin for another 30 minutes or so, but they were already airing news which I thought was a bit odd, until I checked the other stations and saw that they were also all airing news.
I knew that something very big had happened at that time as the last blanket news coverage that I could recall was for Princess Diana’s funeral. It was a couple minutes later when I saw the footage of the plane hitting the second World Trade Centre building, and the footage of the two towers collapsing, that the enourmity of this event struck me. I was mortified, and was glued to the coverage for the rest of the day. The fact that I was unwell seemed to be irrelevant…in fact I gather that, at school that day, everyone was watching the coverage of the 9/11 terror attacks…in some ways I am glad that I was ill and was able to digest this dreadful news without the commentary of a school teacher getting in the way.
I remember on that day when the news anchors announced that they had just received footage of the first plane hitting the first tower. I remember when the word started to filter through that Osama Bin Laden was the prime suspect. I remember going to sleep that night trying to remember the name of our new enemy, a man so evil that he would mastermind the deaths of so many thousands of innocent people. I remember taking the “Bin” part of his name and remembering that “that’s where he belongs” as my way of remembering his name.
Above all else though, I remember the horrifying footage of the people who jumped from the towers. As horrifying as that was for those of us who were witnessing it, I shudder to think of how awful it must have been in those buildings on that day to cause so many people to prefer jumping to their deaths from such a great height rather than wait to burn to death…and how awful it must have been to be in that position to have to make such a decision.
Such an awful day. Such a lot that we need to remember.
On this tenth anniversary, I am taking time to remember the awful events of that day, and the people who lost their lives that day. I give thanks for the brave souls who tried to save others, giving little or no consideration to their own safety in the process; the people who went in to the burning buildings; the passengers of United 93 who rose up against the hijackers and undoubtedly saved many more lives; and of course I give thanks for the wonderful brave troops who have gone to fight for our freedom and safety in the decade since that dreadful day.
In honour of all of these people, apart from remembering them, I am wearing my NYPD hoodie today and tomorrow. It might not be much, but it is a part of displaying that I am proud to say that I remember those people, and I stand as an ally of America on this day, and all days, but on this one in particular.
We must not let something awful like this happen again, and we must do all that we can towards that end.
9/11. Never Forget.