Across the Ocean
Date Submitted: 10/8/2015
Quite why I'm visiting this site on 8.10.15 I have no idea.
Well, that might not be strictly true. For me, 9/11 is the day that has thus far defined my life. I wasn't in New York. I don't know anybody who perished. I'm not even American.
On September 11, 2001, I was a 9 year old who went to school same as pretty much every other day. Walking home with my mum and my younger brother, I distinctly remember her saying an aircraft had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. I didn't know what the WTC was, I didn't - naively - particularly care. I was 9 years old and I wanted to get home to play. When we got in, the TV went straight on to BBC News 24 who were transmitting live coverage. It was 15:00 GMT. 10:00 EDT. I watched the North Tower collapse live on television and realised I was watching something different to the norm. I still didn't appreciate the magnitude.
I watched as in late 2001 the coalition invaded Afghanistan. I watched the 2003 Iraq invasion. I saw the Arab Spring of 2011, the justice meted out to Osama Bin Laden, the ongoing Syrian Civil War, the culture-clash of the 2015 European Refugee Crisis. Now I know why 9/11 impacted me. It was the day my world went from one of childish innocence to a world of terror, hatred, murder and chaos.
It's perhaps easy for me to say that those who perished on 9/11 were, in a way, the 'lucky' ones. And I mean that with the utmost respect and humility for the victims and their families. They left the world on a day when it became a darker and more fearful place. May they find peace where they now dwell, and may those left behind be granted the dignity and respect they so rightly deserve. I just hope that we prove ourselves worthy of having survived it all and that September 11, 2001, was not the beginning of the end of western civilisation.
A million thoughts raced through my head. And then I witnessed the most horrific thing I've ever witnessed in my 36 years of life. A TV had been set up in the break room, and we all watched in horror as first one, then both Towers fell. I can't describe the sadness, the feeling was too intense to justify in words.
Jack (story excerpt)