(9 September 2001)
I had just flown to England a few days before 9/11. I was visiting my friend Peter in the small(ish) town of Stroud in the Cotswolds. Peter rang me that afternoon from work, I was in the apartment alone, he told me to turn the radio on. (There was no TV in the apartment) I asked what station. He replied "any".
I switch on the radio and I sat there dumbfounded, listening to the live news reports. It was difficult for me to take in what was happening back in the States. It was unreal. Airplanes being hijacked and flown into buildings, one after the other. How could something like this be happening in the States? It was like I was on the outside looking in. I suppose in a way i was. I sat there and cried. I cried for the victims, I cried for the victims families, I cried for America, I cried because I was frightened to the core. America was no longer a safe place.
I believe it was the next day, the UK held a 2 minute silence for the victims of the tragedies that had just happened in America. (tragedies is an understatement I know) I went for a walk through town just before this was suppose to happen. I'm not sure what I expected but I had intended on standing in the middle of the High Street with my head bowed in silence for two minutes. I was still raw from the events of the day before, my legs felt like they were made of lead, I felt like I was near suffocation, my chest heavy. The church bell struck the hour, people came out of the shops to stand silently in the streets. Cars and other vehicles came to a standstill. I was so moved that I stood silently in the street with all the others in this small town in England, with hot tears streaming down my cheeks, thinking about what was happening in America. Remembering this still moves me today.
I'm also still struggling to grasp what happened on this day 15 years ago. Four passenger planes were hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists. The first flown, with passengers, into the World Trade Center's North Tower in New York. Then the second plane, with passengers, flew into the WTC's South Tower. Not long after both skyscrapers collapse. A third passenger plane crashes into the Pentagon (Headquarters of the United States Department of Defense), in Virginia. The fourth plane, which was aimed at Washington, D.C., crashed into a field in Pennsylvania when passengers tried to overcome the hijackers.
Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives that day. Over 6,000 others were injured. This loss was felt all around the world. The whole world wept.