Remembering 9/11 – 10 Years On

People always say that you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when a disaster strikes. I don’t think that modern times have produced an occasion more worthy of that saying than the tragedies of September 11th 2001.

I was sitting at a childhood friend’s dinner table, eating a slice of doughy cheese and tomato pizza. Her mother came into the room looking shocked and worried. “Do you remember when we went to New York and saw those two huge towers? They’re gone. They’ve been blown up.” Now, as a 10 year old I automatically assumed that they’d been demolished – images of the cartoon TNT plunger were all that was in my child’s brain. But once we saw the horrifying footage on her television, our perceptions changed, as did the world, forever.

The next morning my sister and I were allowed to eat our breakfast in the living room whilst we watched the endless footage  of the planes crashing into the towers. In our quiet house in quiet Britain, we felt both a million miles away from this devastating event yet it also felt eerily close to home. I don’t think, at that age, that I could really comprehend the scale and true horror of what happened that day; I didn’t even know about the other two planes (which crashed into the Pentagon and into a field in Pennsylvania)  until years later.

As we grew up, and saw many programmes and films about the 9/11 attacks, we only realised more and more how much the world had changed as a result. We went on holiday to Florida in 2002, and the contrast between the level of security at the airport then compared to a couple of years previous was immense. Although the events were, undisputedly, felt most intensely in New York,  there were ripples around the entire world which are still being felt.

When visiting Ground Zero last year, I felt something which I had never experienced before. The whole place was chilling, but underneath the cloud of despair and grief was the most overwhelming feeling of hope. There was an energy that was unfamiliar; the mixture of remembering the past but reaching towards the future. New York is the strongest city I have ever visited, with the most incredible spirit.

On this day, I wanted to remember the thousands of people who lost their lives or lost loved ones; that phrase, “loved ones”, is something I avoid when writing a script for journalistic purposes, but in this post and in this situation it is unavoidable. How anyone could write about 9/11 without emotion is beyond me.

I have remembered by sharing my memories in terms of hearing about the disaster. Please feel free to share your own memories of 9/11 in the comments below.

9/11 10 Years On

Remembering 9/11 10 Years On – 11th September 2011

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11 Comments

  1. Charlotte
    September 11, 2011 / 12:55 pm

    I was 13 at the time of 9/11 and my family and i were in France on holiday, i remember seeing the footage on a small tv behind a shop counter thinking it was a film, my parents asked the shopkeeper what film it was and he told us it was the news, shock was my first emotion; and then fear, my grandparents were in America, it took us a while to contact them and thankfully they were ok.
    The most horrifying footage is that of the people jumping, and i have just read an article about how alot of people view these ‘jumpers’ and cowards, taking the easy way out and going to hell for the sin of ‘suicide’. That attitude really disgusts me.
    RIP to anyone who lost their life that day and my thoughts go out to anyone who lost someone. We live in a cruel world! xx

  2. Sofie
    September 11, 2011 / 1:30 pm

    Beautifully written. I was 7 when it happened, but I was so shocked.
    And still. Something like this should never ever happen again.

  3. Merope
    September 11, 2011 / 2:37 pm

    You really can write, Chyaz. I remember that I was 10 and at that time, I couldn’t understand the significance of the attack. I thought “Hundreds of buildings are demolished everyday what’s the big deal?”. I was so stupid, I almost want to laugh when I remember it. Almost.
    Today I had to turn off the tv, because I couldn’t stand to hear people’s personal experiences, and how they got phone calls from their loved ones that were working in the towers.
    I can’t imagine picking up the phone one day and have my mum or my boyfriend say “So a plane has crashed in the building where I am, and I’m going to die”
    Nobody should have to go through so much pain.

  4. September 11, 2011 / 2:37 pm

    I remember seeing the first pictures on the news at home after school, I was 13 at the time. I got really scared and started crying. But really shocked me the most and stayed on my mind was seeing these poor people jumping out the window, knowing that they were gona die, one way or an other.
    I feel ashamed of my own race when I see things like this. But I still have this hope that there’s still civilised and good people ready to make a change.

    • Shannon
      September 11, 2011 / 4:45 pm

      me too and i’m glad for it this something people want to forget

  5. September 11, 2011 / 4:51 pm

    Very well written. I just can’t believe that something like that happened, it’s so unreal yet it’s real. I remember just coming home from school, walking into the living room and then seeing those terrible and horrible images on the TV, I couldn’t believe my eyes …

    I know what you mean with the atmosphere when you visit Ground Zero in NYC, I also visited that place two years ago and I felt the same thing.

    A day that we will never forget.

  6. iwka
    September 11, 2011 / 5:55 pm

    I was just 8 years old, but I remember the moment clearly. I was doing homework and I came to the living room and I watched TV with my mouth wide open. I didn’t understand why…and I still don’t 🙁
    I was in NY last year and when I saw those places, I was shivering…
    I took this picutre http://pic.twitter.com/UZLeVir in New York last year and I think the painting is beautiful.
    RIP 🙁

  7. Kathleen
    September 11, 2011 / 8:57 pm

    I was 8. I was in my third grade class at the time and I’d learned that were were being dismissed early, but no one would tell us why. Everyone knew it was something bad though, because all of the teachers were crying in the hallway. Then when my mom came to school and picked me up, I asked her what happened. She said, “The United States was attacked by terrorists.” Because I was only 8, I didn’t really understand what she meant, and I thought that maybe it was the anniversary of some battle and it was a national holiday, like Memorial Day. Maybe the school just forgot to give us the day off and they decided to send us home when they remembered the date. But my mom told me that it happened that morning.

    So after she picked me and my brother up, we went to church to pray for the victims. However I still didn’t understand what the people were victims of until I got home. My Grandmom was over my house and she was crying on the couch when I got home, watching the news. My mom started crying then too. So my parents, my grandmom, my brother and I all sat watching the news then. Then I understood why everyone was so upset when I saw the twin towers on fire, people jumping out of the windows so they wouldn’t burn, people running away from the falling buildings, and later people looking for their loved ones in the rubble.

    I was so upset watching the coverage, that my mom told me and my brother to stop watching it because it was so horrible. I didn’t understand why anyone would want to do such a thing, so I kept asking my mom why and she couldn’t find an answer for me. I was so scared thinking what if theres a 5th attack? 6th? What if this is only the first day? How many people will be killed. After a whole day of nothing but fear and sadness I went up to my room to go to bed. I thought, maybe none of it actually happened. Maybe I’ll just go to bed, wake up in the morning and everything will be normal. So I got under the covers, and turned on the radio to listen to music while I drifted off. Then I heard an ad on the radio about the attacks with President Bush talking about them. Then the fear came back as it reassurred be that it did happen.

    It might sound corney, but my view of the world changed that day. That carless feeling you have when you’re young died. Before then, I felt like nothing was terribly wrong with the world. But after that day, I continued to hear about wars resulting from the attacks, fear of other attacks, etc. The wars are still going on today, and we still fear other attacts. That was the day I realized just how evil some people can be.

  8. Chloe
    September 11, 2011 / 9:01 pm

    I honestly don’t remember. But I know I was in Northern VA where I live, and my day care was right next to an army base. My mom said she could see the smoke from the Pentagon, and we’re a 20 minute drive away. She came to pick me up because she was afraid the army base would get hit.

  9. September 11, 2011 / 10:23 pm

    I was five years old when 9/11 happened. My dad was in New York on a business trip. I remember seeing my mom come rushing into my Kindergarten classroom with a horrified look on her face. She picked me up and ran to the car, where my little brother (who was a baby) was waiting, and sped home. She told us that there had been a bombing, but I wasn’t really sure what that meant. I didn’t understand what had happened really, but when she said “Your dad was in New York when it happened,” I started crying. Luckily, my dad wasn’t in the towers when it happened, and he was able to catch a ride back home (11 hours away!) with a stranger. They drove all night long and got home in the morning. I was relieved that nothing had happened to him. If I was that scared and he wasn’t even injured, I wonder how the children of people who actually died felt. Horrible, I imagine. 🙁 9/11 is a really big deal and I hope that nobody forgets it.

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