Tuesday, 18 September 2001

September 11th

To say that the events of Tuesday, September 11th shook the world would be a massive understatement. On that day it seemed like a giant, evil demon chewed the world up and spat it out.

To best describe how I felt, I think it's best to say how I found out about these events.

Around 2pm, having done some work outside at the garden centre, I came into the shop when my friend Teresa told me - a plane had hit the World Trade Centre. I couldn't believe my ears. I thought she was joking. To make me realise she wasn't, she told me to go upstairs and see the television.

The scenes I saw reminded me of The Towering Inferno. A gaping hold with smoke and flames billowing out of one of the towers, and terrified people leaning out of the windows could be seen.

I had no idea at the time that the magnitude of this disaster would increase greatly. Time was money. I had jobs to do, and I wasn't going to get them done watching a rescue operation in New York. So I returned to work.

Throughout the afternoon, the news kept coming in on the radio - the other tower had been attacked; the Pentagon had been attacked; both the towers had collapsed; another plane, which had possibly been en route to the White House, had crashed near Pittsburgh.

But still, I did not give these events my undivided attention. I knew that this was a major crisis, but I also knew that, being the information junky that I am, with nearly ten dedicated news channels at home, I could find out more information when I got home.

I arrived home about 6pm, and the first thing I did was witch on the TV, and headed straight for Sky News. The channel played in both the living room and kitchen as I cleaned up and started dinner. It wasn't for another fifteen minutes that I finally sat down on the sofa and gave the news my undivided attention.

The first thing I remember is the sight of the first tower on fire, and then the plane flying in from the south, smashing into the other tower. It seemed like I was watching a scene from one of those Jack Ryan films, which had been written by Tom Clancy. But it wasn't. This was real life. The only problem being was that it was too damn real.

As I watched these scenes, I felt three distinct emotions;

I felt shock - shock at seeing scenes I had only previously seen in films and on television, in a world of fantasy and fiction, really happen before my eyes.

I felt numb, physically numb as I began to realise the extent of what had happened. For about five minutes, I actually couldn't move.

I felt ashamed, because I came to realise that somewhere in this world, there was someone, some evil bastard who was willing to inflict such pain and suffering on their fellow man, the likes of which had never been seen before in modern, peacetime history.

Even though I've had my fair share of troubles this year, these pale in comparison to those who have been affected by this terrible tragedy. To all of those who have lost loved ones in this disaster I offer you my deepest sympathies.

Modern communications, such as satellites, the Internet, mobile phones, have given the world much. But it is these very devices that allowed the world to view these events as they happened. These images, these stories, these events have been recorded for posterity like no other. They will be remembered by everyone who witnessed them, and those stories must be told to future generations, for we must never, no matter how painful it is, forget these terrible events.

September 11th, 2001, must be remembered forever, because it was on this day that a country, the United States of America, for years thought of as an impregnable fortress, was breached, and the majority of the world shares their pain.