It seems like it happened only a short time ago but today marks the 12th Anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Centres and the Pentagon. It was a day that no one watching or involved would ever forget – and because of subsequent actions taken it became the defining moment in our modern history.
Jill had picked me up from work early that day, for some reason I was finished at 1pm and we headed back to my parent’s house where i was still living. Just as we were about to get out of the car the news reported the story that a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre. We headed in a switched on the TV to see the now famous image of the first tower billowing with smoke. Such a tragic accident we thought.
Not a minute later we saw the second plane strike the other tower and the world changed forever. We knew then that it was no accident and the news changed from pity to panic. What unfolded in the next few hours will live in my memory as long as it functions. I think I watched TV continuously through until about midnight when it was getting dark in New York and no new news was forthcoming.
Watching the towers crumble to the ground was eerie as there was a silence as no one in the news studios or at Ground Zero could believe what they were witnessing. It felt like an attack on everyone – you were an American and a fellow human all standing watching the horror together in shock.
We know with hindsight that this was the day that made the world an even less safe place – the reactions and lies from politicians and the ongoing erosion of our civil liberties across the world stem from this day. Not to say that we overexaggerated across the board but there are areas where laws were introduced which suited the politics and not the countries involved.
Here we are over a decade later and the shadow of that day still hangs over us. The sad thing is that the bravery and loss of that day has now been lost behind a bitterness about Afghanistan and Iraq. We need to remember that while this was an attack by a small group is was about humanity which is something which I feel we have lost to large degree. We need to see beyond the labels and racial profiling and remember that everyone lost that day, there were no winners and there never will be.
The deaths of those near three thousand has been forgotten and we should take a moment to remember that this happened in the developed world to people just like us. All skin tones, religions and backgrounds. What we need to remember each 9/11 is that feeling of togetherness we felt in sharing the grief and shock felt – not the anger and revenge that followed. Harvesting the original reaction is the best way to move forward and rebuild these fragile international connections damaged in these attacks.