A few weeks back fellow Hubber soldieringon put up a forum thread suggesting that on September 11th as many of us as possible wrote hubs in remembrance of those who died on 9/11. This year is the tenth anniversary of that terrible day, and he suggested we could write hubs that said where we were, how we felt, what we did, or how it affected ourselves or a loved one.
At the time I responded to say I didn't feel I had enough to make up a Hub, but told him of my memories of that fateful day when the World Trade Center was destroyed along with so many lives. Soldieringon thought differently though, and asked me to write the Hub up anyway. I do feel it is very important we never forget what happened that dreadful day, and that those who gave their lives trying to save others are also not forgotten or their bravery taken for granted. Therefore, whilst this may not be my longest Hub, I hope it conveys my thoughts and feelings as they were on 9/11, and how they are today, ten years later.
I was at home on the day the Twin Towers came down. I had randomly switched on my television and the station I was on was flooded with the story, and within seconds I was in total shock, and rapidly moved to tears. Rarely have I ever been so distraught as the events unfolded before my eyes.
It seemed unbelievable as first the footage of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers was shown, followed by all the other horrors such as the further plane hitting the Pentagon, then the news of another plane having crashed where the brave passengers had attempted to overpower the terrorists on board.
I sat there alone on my sofa, feeling like a block of ice cold shock was sitting in the pit of my stomach. Tears rolling down my cheeks as footage was shown of people throwing themselves from the tower windows to certain death in order to avoid being burned alive. Things just seemed to get worse and worse, as answerphone messages were played where people still trapped in the upper floors of the two towers called their loved ones to tell them how much they loved them and to say their goodbyes.
Then of course there were the incredibly brave firefighters who were risking their own lives to try and save as many people as possible, in spite of the fact the buildings were completely unstable. The rescuers and their search dogs who tried to get to those buried under rubble even before the towers fell, again knowing that at any moment they could be the next victims.
Then there was the moment, the terrible and awful moment when first one tower fell, and then the other. It seemed to happen in slow motion, yet I knew I was watching as hundreds upon hundreds of people died before my eyes, most of whom were innocent civilians simply trying to do their jobs and feed their families.
I don't think I moved from that couch for the rest of the day, I just couldn't believe what I was seeing was actually happening. Of course it didn't end in one day though. This was followed by days and then weeks of further searching. Walls full of pictures of missing loved ones, and families standing vigil at Ground Zero in the vain hope their missing family member or friend might just miraculously be found alive, the sad truth being that this was incredibly unlikely, and in many cases even the bodies were never found.
The only way I can describe it now is that it felt like a wave of total grief and despair reverberated around the world like a giant wave. Numerous nations felt this way, not just Americans, and for a brief period I believe the majority of the world was united, not only with their revulsion for the terrorists who were responsible for this cruelty, but also with sympathy for those victims who had died and for their families left behind. Wherever you went, people were in shock or in tears, and again, this was in many countries not just the United States.
Many might ask why it affected me so deeply when I don't live in the US? My answer would be that coming from a Financial Centre Island such as the Channel Island of Guernsey, I knew many people on Guernsey would have actual colleagues working in the twin towers. I was not living on Guernsey at the time, but even listening to those terribly sad answerphone messages left by people trapped in the towers to their loved ones, or seeing the people jumping to their deaths, hearing the tales of rescuers bravery resulting in their own deaths, just broke my heart.
My Step Father is a retired Fire Chief, and I know he, like me, still sheds tears every time the stories of the bravery shown by so many are aired on documentaries. Seeing fellow Firefighters dying whilst trying to save lives with no thought for their own safety is something he understands all too well, but when those deaths are so needless and as a result of a cowardly act of terrorism, it is doubly painful.
To this day I cannot watch the programmes on the 9/11 tragedy without ending up in tears, even in public places such as our local bar.
I have a Husband who works locally in the Finance Industry, and he went to Ground Zero a year or two after the tragedy. He was disgusted to find Chinese people selling T-Shirts saying something like "I Have Been to 9/11". That was just so sick, and a twisted way of profiting of from a disaster.
Even typing this hurt and brought tears to my eyes yet again.What a tragic and pointless waste of life! I for one will never forget 9/11, nor will I ever forgive those who perpetrated those acts of terrorism on innocent civilians in the most cowardly manner possible. May they all suffer in the most appalling ways imaginable as some kind of justice (be it here or in the afterlife), and even that will still never be enough for what they did!
One small comfort was something my Husband told me. I cannot confirm if it is true or not, but I believe he was told this when he visited Ground Zero. Apparently whilst many buildings near to the twin towers were also badly damaged or destroyed as a result of the towers coming down, one building nearby escaped without so much as a broken pane of glass. That building was a Chapel!