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9/11: Ten Years Later

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:21 pm

Sept 11th 2001:

To say Sept 11th started out just like any other day would be as much of an understatement as it is a cliche.

It was much better than that.

Into work by 5.00 a.m., nothing out of the ordinary overnight, in fact things were going very well. Couple of cups of coffee to brush away the previous night's cobwebs and off to the airport for a 7.00 a.m. flight, 300 miles to New York City. Gorgeous sunrise and USAir Express were to have us away from the gate on time.

It was a day-trip I made at least once a month, in this case a reprise of a similar roundtrip exactly a week earlier when our Dash-8 turboprop flew over Manhattan, a lovely day when you felt you could reach out and touch the skyscrapers.

On Tuesday, Sept 11th, the sky couldn't have been clearer and, once again, our approach into La Guardia took us over Manhattan and the World Trade Centre. Weather picture perfect.
On the ground at LGA early, no messages, and straight into a cab for the short ride to our client, a media distributor, for a sales meeting on Broadway and 18th. Into the Midtown Tunnel and a pleasant conversation with the cab-driver who, unusually, spoke perfect English.

As soon as we emerged into the sparkling sunlight it was clear there was an emergency. Turning towards Downtown there was a pall of something on the horizon.
"What's that?' asked the cabbie.
"Not sure," I said feebly, "low cloud?"
"No, it's smoke, I'll see if there's anything on the radio."

Sirens were screaming, FDNY Ladder 24, then, juxtaposing the numbers, 42 both sped past.

"A plane crashed into the North Tower," the voice was saying, and eyewitness reports from Brooklyn were talking about the smoke drifting that way, bearing paper debris from the stricken building.

As w'ere trying to make sense of it all, obviously an accident, the radio started screeching hysterically, "Another plane has hit the South Tower,".

And, as we swung on to Broadway, there they were, two towers ablaze. I paid my fare, generous tip, and rushed for the deli where I was to rendezvous with Tessa, a colleague who had been in the City overnight. But first to a pay phone, call my wife. No reply, left a garbled message fearing communications could become congested. Little did I know.

Met Tessa, quick bagel and out into the street. Hundreds of people, looking four miles to the Downtown skyline, staring up, speechless, disbelieving, gawking really. Smoke and flames belching unimaginably from the top floors of the Towers. Don't want to watch this any longer, upstairs to see our client where the day's schedule is already on hold. All clustered round CNN's pictures on the Boardroom TV. What the Hell?

9.30 a.m.: Stories, unsubstantiable, of other planes being hijacked; one dives into the Pentagon. Client employees feverishly trying to get lines, calling loved ones who might have been Downtown. Reports that a Tower might collapse. Do I want to go outside and look? Hell no, this is ghastly enough. US airspace is closed down. USAir Express aren't taking me home tonight. Try to call Avis, can't get through, tough enough to even get a line. Can't call home, can't call the office. Trapped in New York. But safe. And I always get home.

10.00 a.m.: South Tower falls, suddenly deaths which one hopes might only be in the score or hundreds, now clearly in the hundreds, perhaps worse. Parts of the Pentagon collapse.

10.30 a.m.: The North Tower starts to fall. Reports of a United Flight and a Delta Flight having been hijacked. The United plane apparently crashes in Pennsylvania. The Delta flight is safe. Client CEO, Steve, comes in, "It's our Pearl Harbour", he says and, from where we are, he's right.

11.00 a.m.: Worried about brother-in-law who works adjacent to the WTC, worried about wife's cousin who works in the Pentagon. Feeling completely numb, completely useless, brain almost paralysed, like a dreadful combination of jetlag and hangover. I'm at someone else's, a City's really, funeral and I'm an uninvited guest. Still can't contact home or work.

11.30 a.m.: Reports that subway service in Manhattan is shut down, as is all vehicle access with bridges, tunnels closed to traffic. No hotel rooms available. How the Hell am I going to get home? I always get home, I'm known for it!

12.00 p.m.: Finally get through to the office. The previous day we had hosted a conference and some of the guests were clients who desperately wanted to get home. Speak to friend Sandy, a bastion of common sense, "Look after Tessa," she says. Gee, thanks. But Sandy promises to call home and let my wife know I'm OK. Sort of.
Just then I get through to brother-in-law Bob. Phew, seems he'd been in Queens and not anywhere near the Trade Centre.
"The 59th Street Bridge is open," he says, "people are walking across it. Get to the other side of the Bridge and get a cab to McLoughlin's (in Astoria), the Guinness there is exceptional." Took one look at Tessa, 16 stone and that's not including a heavy suitcase. "Sorry Bob, can't do that, but thanks!" But at least now I knew for sure there was an escape.
That, and the thought of a Guinness and just speaking to someone outside Manhattan, was enough to re-engage the brain.

12.30 p.m.: Contact work again. Ask to speak to one of the visiting clients. "Why don't you rent a car at Burlington Airport and drive down? I'll meet you, take the keys, and drive it back." Seems like an idea anyway.

1.00 p.m.: Client calls from the office in Vermont: "Four of us are driving down. Not sure whether roads will be open but we'll keep in touch by cell-phone." Ah ha, a plan!
Our client's Broadway office is increasingly deserted as workers trickle home. If they can. Claustrophobic doesn't start to describe the atmosphere. I need some fresh air - grab Tessa and suggest lunch. Outside, it's quiet, little or no traffic, police and fire sirens, the occasional cab, but the streets are almost deserted.
We notice pedestrians shuffling towards Union Square from Downtown, some of them covered head-to-foot in ash, dust, some with torn clothes, bedraggled. The NYPD has closed all streets beyond Union Square to traffic so we go over to the Union Square Cafe, usually a popular upmarket eatery, tough to get a table. "Sorry sir, we only have a limited menu as our staff have not been able to get in." Seems every few minutes sees something I hadn't considered. Place just about empty, but I see a cold beer and they can "fix" a burger so we're in business.

2.00 p.m.: Still dozens, hundreds perhaps, of people walking dazed from Downtown. Back to the office where it's confirmed a rental car has been hired and our intrepid travellers are heading south. Please tell my wife. She is sick of me gloating I've never failed to make it home during years of very frequent travel. Determined nothing will stop us this time either.

4.00 p.m.: Client closes the office; CEO Steve invites Tessa and me to wait for "the car" at his Madison Square apartment. Just a few minutes' walk but, as we make our way, there are deafening sirens followed by a convoy of a dozen trucks - all medical provision 18-wheelers making their way through the roadblocks to Downtown. Don't even want to imagine what they might have on board.
Steve's lady seems happy to see us, coffee quickly served as I notice life-size graphic nude pen-and-ink portraits of her on the walls. More than I really want to see just now. Watch the carnage on the box - word that the first fatality to be identified was Father Mychal Judge, who had rushed to the Trade Centre on one of the Engines which had passed us. Eerie.

6.00 p.m.: News that parts of the Subway are opening up and we can get a train to the Bronx. Call "the car" and tell them to meet us at Broadway in Bronx. Great, they can catch the Subway back into Manhattan, we can take the keys and get outathere. Meet at 7.30.

7.00 p.m.: CEO Steve drives us through empty streets to Times Square Subway Station. I sit next to a man who watched the second plane hit from his seat on a Northwest plane at Newark. Still seemed shocked. Not surprising.

7.30 p.m.: Tessa and I make it to the Bronx, quickly see a honking great Lincoln TownCar and the gent who'd driven down - the rest had already scarpered but getting behind the wheel I knew we'd make it home.

8.15 p.m.: We stop at the first "Services" on the New York State Thruway. Grab a pay-phone and call home. Explain what we've done and that we're on our way home.
Another one of those moments: A trucker on the adjacent phone was obviously being told what had transpired all those hours ago. He was totally oblivious, presumably just driving through the glorious weather, fat, dumb and happy. Spoke to him afterwards - he just couldn't believe that his world had changed forever. Who would, really? Tessa is a country girl from Indiana and had to wait for her to call every bloody relative before we got cracking. Please don't let us get stopped for speeding. Stupidly, I really wanted to make sure I didn't miss a Lucinda Williams concert we had tickets for the following night. Car Wheels on a Gravel Road and all that.

Sept 12th:

1.00 a.m.: Finally made it to Burlington Airport where Tessa would pick up her car. Heavily armed Police patrolling, where did I think I was going?

1.15 a.m.: Home at last. Big hugs, 13-y-o daughter and 11-y-o son sleeping on mattresses at the foot of our bed for protection.

10.00 a.m.: Returned the TownCar to Avis. Very funny (peculiar) look from the agent. Got into work. Hugs from all. Tessa wouldn't make it in until next week.

8.00 p.m.: At the "Flynn" for Lucinda; made it! Weird atmosphere in the theatre - how would she handle it? And she came on stage, asked for a minute's silence, broke it with a "Let's Rock and Roll" and she did. Very cathartic.

Sept 16th:
Insisted on going to Church. I never go to Church, strictly weddings and christenings. But had to go. Not for anything else, just the sense of community, wanted one last hug! Bishop's brother had died on one of the planes which hit the Trade Centre, so all the more poignant.

Seemed it took a while after that for my world to get back on its axis. Cousin in the Pentagon was safe, no loved ones or friends, or friends of friends were killed. Relationships with certain people changed, seemingly forever, but not really. There's a connection there but time dulls everything. Almost. Not sure what I'll be doing on Sunday, pretty sure no-one else will care. But some things you never forget.


Last edited by kwinigolfer on Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:08 pm; edited 4 times in total

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Post by Davie Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:40 pm

Kwini - simply brilliant clap

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Post by HumanWindmill Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:53 pm

Ditto.

It's the ' immediacy ' of it all which strikes me.

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Post by Doon the Water Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:15 pm

I was off work that day and had taken the dog for a long walk.
Came in, made a coffee and switched on the telly to see a plane blasting into the tower.
My immediate thought was 'why have they got this cr@p on at this time of the morning'. I thought it was a poor film.
Ended up just staring at the screen.

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Post by BlueCoverman Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:36 pm

Fascinating account of your experience Kwini clap

Difficult to believe that it is ten years since that dreadful day. I was in my office just outside of London as usual when the first pictures started to appear on TV. I sat with my colleagues transfixed as the full horror unfolded in front of our eyes. I remember thinking I can't believe that anyone has taken the might of America on in her own backyard.

The images of those poor souls in the higher floors of the Twin Towers, trapped at the windows and waving towels to attract attention and the ghastly sight of people jumping to their deaths rather than be burned alive is something I am sure we will all never forget.

I didn't know anyone who lost their life that day, but the fitness instructor at my gym lost his younger brother who was one of the British victims that perished in the Towers. When I saw his pain a few days later it somehow made it more personal.

Quite simply the day when I finally reluctantly accepted that terrorism will never be fully defeated in my lifetime.

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Post by McLaren Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:00 pm

Kwini

Such a well written account so thanks for posting your experience of the day.
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Post by Davie Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:34 pm

I thought this deserved a wider audience - worthy of a global topic for a couple of days clap

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Post by Shotrock Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:42 pm

Kwini - Thanks for sharing. Lost some friends that day and the NYC skyline has never been the same since.

I was on my way to Newark to fly to London that evening. Turned back in Trenton.

That next week was a bit of a blur. Checking in on friends, relatives and more friends. People openly weeping at church that weekend and I hope none of us ever forget all the people that risked their life to save so many.

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Post by WillyGilly Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:52 pm

Kwini you're a top lad. Both Rugby teams quite rightly wearing black bands on Sunday. Very emotional day ahead.
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Post by oldparwin Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:54 pm

Kwini- when we hear it from someone who was so close to it, really brings it home, how dreadful and terrifying ordeal it was, for all in NYC.

Thanks

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Post by Fists of Fury Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:07 pm

Great account of it all, mate. Very well done.

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Post by Be_the_ball Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:13 am

A terrible, terrible day. Very well written account of your experiences that day Kwini.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:31 am

Thanks to everyone, just a personal account I thought you might find interesting. Not many people made it out of the City that night but I'm glad I did and was at least able to help one person home.



PS: B_T_B: Last I heard you had a baby on the way. How's everything going? Well, I hope, Great to hear from you.

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Post by John Bloody Wayne Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:59 am

Amazing read. Simply amazing to read first hand the confused and chaotic atmosphere.

I'll never forget coming home and putting the TV on just as the second plane hit. One of those moments where one's mind can't even begin to calculate just how massive what it's seeing is.

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Post by John Cena's Speech writer Fri Sep 09, 2011 6:36 am

Thanks for sharing, Kwini.

I remember closing the estate agent's office that I worked in that day, and going to the pub to watch everything unfold. Memories that I'll never forget - my generations Kennedy moment.

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Post by princedracula Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:30 am

Fascinating piece, kwini. clap
It felt quite chilling reading it, somewhere at the border between reality and fiction, which is pretty much the same as it felt watching those terrible events unfold on TV 10 years ago...
You certainly came pretty close to it all, thanks for sharing!

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Post by CFCNick Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:38 am

Great post kwini.

Most of my recollection of that day is from the numerous documentaries since. All I remember from the day itself was what I heard on the car radio as my Dad was picking me up from school to go to the doctors. People on the streets being interviewed as the towers fell and no one other than the reporter could fight back their tears and shock to get a single word out, just horrified screams almost muffling the reporters voice.

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Post by Michaels, Sean Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:21 am

I was working in a saw mill during the Uni holidays. Some of the guys there weren't very sharp and all I'd heard was that a plane had crashed into the Tower. I remember cycling home around 3ish, picking up an 8 pack and settling down in front of the TV expecting to see Fan Man with his parachute hooked on the building 4 or 5 storeys up. Obviously this wasn't the case.

My abiding memory of the remainder of the day was being completely transfixed by Sky News and just drinking constantly. Not to get drunk but I just didn't stop. It was just morbid fascination. The footage was compelling and real - addictive. I seem to remember being certain that there was going to be a hit in the UK at any moment and didn't want to miss it.
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Post by gaelgowfer Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:21 am

Wow kwini, hadn't appreciated you'd been there when it happened. Very poignant account especially the bit about the priest (who died) passing you on one of the fire tenders.

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Post by TopHat24/7 Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:37 am

Great piece Kwini.

Definitely one of those "you'll always remember where you were when..." moments. I remember it vividly, I had been up to Leeds Uni for the open-day as I was thinking of studying there and I got drawn into a big crowd huddled round Dixons watching it unfold on the TV's in the window. Absolutely speechless.

God bless all the innocent people that died that day and the families they left behind.

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Post by dynamark Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:19 am

Good work Kwini.
For some reason I called at home just as the TV coverage started and remember commenting to my then wife 'the world will be different after this'
Eventful 10 yrs.May be worth a thought for those affected in the aftermath.
Services and police personnel.Many many thousands of iraqs forces and citizens(for no good reason!)Afghans,Bali,Madrid,London I could go on.

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Post by LadyPutt Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:29 am

Excellent writing as always Kwini - it must have been painful for you to write it, to bring back all those dreadful memories (if they have ever faded). It is interesting to read a calm, reasoned first-hand account without the hysteria.

My thoughts with all US citizens (and the families of the others who died from around the world) on Sunday. It was just a few days later that my father died, aged 85 - I always felt that he'd decided he didn't want to continue living in a world that could do that to its fellow citizens. He wouldn't have been far wrong - and have we learned any lessons ....?
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Post by Guest Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:39 am

Wow, brilliant to read through your account Kwini. Echoeing someone else's comments, it's weird reading that because it seems like it should be something from a fiction book, but is sadly something that happened in reality.

I was very young at the times of the attacks (I think I was 7, just coming up to 8) and remember sitting around the TV in the afternoon with my Dad, knowing what had happened but not fully understanding why or what the consequences would be. About a week later it was my birthday and the whole family spent a lot of the day discussing these events.

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Post by McLaren Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:48 am

Ladyputt

have we learned any lessons?

I sure hope so.
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Post by Celtic Warrior Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:35 am

Absolutely fantastic read. I remember the day well.

My friend was due to be flying out of New York that day. I got a message from his girlfriend asking if I'd seen the news. She had tried calling him and couldn't get a hold of him. I told her to leave it with me and I'd try. Obviously not expecting to get in touch with him. I fully expected it to be impossible to get a signal/line during such an event. Eventually I tracked him down. His flight had been grounded and he was back at his apartment.

It was an exceptionally harrowing experience. Like others have said above, a day where you can't fully comprehend just what you are seeing.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:22 pm

Thanks All,
Big exaggeration to suggest I was really "there"; actually never felt anything other than completely safe, if temporarily discombobulated, the whole time.

As for the extent to which this might have prompted military action at a later time, obviously I have strong opinions on that.

But, whoever we are and whatever we feel about it, this was an extraordinary atrocity which was a very human tragedy. And a very hiuman experience - even as distanced from the Towers (about 4 miles away) as I was.

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Post by uberkiwi Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:00 pm

Great insight, thanks Kwini.

I personally was sat in Humberside Airport when I saw the first plane hit on TV - not quite the best place to be :/

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Post by McLaren Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:08 pm

Kwini

It was mind blowing from 3000 mile away so god knows what it was like from 4 miles away?

I visited the site a couple of years ago but given the changes it could have been any other building site around the city. Despite this there was still a very odd atmosphere around the area as if everyone just didn't know what to say. I was about to take a photo but then thought it really wasn’t appropriate. The site is also surprisingly small, it is hard to think that so many massive buildings fell into the space.

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Post by barrystar Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:56 pm

We saw it in February 2002 and it was extraordinary. There was a sort of viewing platform up a ramp and large numbers of awe-struck visitors were marching up the ramp in tight bunches as released by the 'bouncer' types to look over the site in orderly and uncomprehending silence before turning back to be replaced by the next bunch. They were almost shuffling in step and looked most unsure as to how they should conduct themselves - whether this was an act of homage (they were not allowed much time for that) or curiosity or a bit of both.

I really don't think, as someone from the UK, that I ever 'got it' as to the effect on US citizens - and in particular the type of American that I rarely meet, namely someone who is not from either Coast or a large cosmopolitan central city like Chicago.
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Post by dynamark Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:38 pm

As to effect on others I do recall not long after 9 11 getting on a plane at Luton airport with a level of heightened awareness looking everyone up and down very closely.Some of our older posters may remember the worst of our times with the IRA when a bag left on a seat was a big concern.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri Sep 09, 2011 5:26 pm

This was written as a human remembrance of a human horror story, nothing more, nothing less.

It doesn't excuse the horrors that preceded it and certainly not the ones that followed, and are still pervasive in the world today.

As for your conspiracy theories, bretmeharty, perhaps you might take them to another thread? Thank you.

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Post by BlueCoverman Fri Sep 09, 2011 5:38 pm

Well said kwini...

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Post by Guest Fri Sep 09, 2011 5:47 pm

Thank you for sharing this with us Kwini.
I remember the horror of watching it on the news all day but I cant begin to imagine what it must have been like to witness and be involved in these terrible events first hand.

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Post by Shot 21 LCFC Fri Sep 09, 2011 5:56 pm

I think I speak for everyone when I say rest in peace to all those who lost their lives on that day.

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Post by Doon the Water Fri Sep 09, 2011 6:46 pm

I once said on the Irish 'troubles'

They will never have peace until the mothers teach thier kids to stop hating.

No different to any other area of conflict.

PS Kwinni
Great bit of writing.
Hopefully the knutters will go homewards tae think again.

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Post by WhiteCamry Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:06 pm

My memory of it is nothing so dramatic as kwinigolfer's: I was working in Arlington, VA, some five miles from the Pentagon. The work day had just started. A colleague in my office had a cheap portable radio (this was before internet radio) playing forgettable news and music.

Then a newsreader announced that a plane had hit one of the twin Towers in NYC. My first thought was "well, it finally happened." Not that I knew at that moment what was really going on; once, back in 1978, an Argentine airliner approaching JFK at night was diverted by JFK control from crashing into into one of the towers. And before that, in 1945 a Mitchell bomber crashed into the Empire State Building. In that light, the announcement had seemed just a matter of time.

Then two more quick announcements: the Pentagon had been hit - no, I didn't see or hear it - and the other Twin Tower had been hit as well. The picture finally cleared: a terrorist attack and by hijacking (something which the US hadn't seen since the early 1970s). A minute later the word came around: everyone go home.

So we left at just at about 9 AM. It was a glorious day, as it was in NYC, so incongruent from the horrors unfolding - I didn't see any smoke from towards the Pentagon but, then, I didn't think to look. The only sign that anything was unusual was that the evening's rush hour was just after breakfast. The Orange Line (metro train) was packed like sardine cans and the I-66 westbound (highway) was a parking lot. But there were no delays or jams, or none which I'd heard about. No one chatted as they normally would have; no one even had a portable radio to tell us about the Towers collapsing.

I walked home from the Vienna (Virginia) Metro. At 9:30 AM it was still a glorious, shirtsleeve day but it was eerily quiet, even with the full highway just on the other side of the trees. Twenty minutes later I was sitting with my parents who were just as stunned as everyone else since the news first broke; so much so that when they finally told me about the Towers' collapse they almost mumbled it as an aside. Half disbelieving it (I still hadn't seen pictures), I went to the tv. Aside from the predictable babbling newsidiots there were also unpredictable Twin Tower-sized ghosts of dust drifting over NY harbor. Soon after that came reports of another possibly hijacked plane missing in western Pennsylvania.

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Post by WhiteCamry Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:15 pm

Some footage from orbit of the 9/11 attacks.

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Post by Trebs Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:32 pm

clap

I was only young at the time, and didn't fully understand it at the time. I just thought they were mad suicide bombers, it's the first real major disaster I remember.

RIP.

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Post by Breadvan Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:38 pm

The irony is that I was doing a whole days counter terrorism excercise on a HM warship on that fday. I remember not much work being done and everyone watching the TV in disbelief. It was soon cancelled and staff were armed up for real. 10yrs on, gangway staff are still carrying weapons.
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Post by welshy824 Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:41 pm

great read, was only 6 at the time but i remember seeing it on the news (well newsround for kids)

also seen some more of the receant documentries on the tv and i cant believe how stuck up some of these conspiracy theorists are, i saw a program on channel 4 and one of them was having a go at another one for crying about it, when it was the "u.s governments fault"

whatever happened there i doubt we will never know the full details like so many famous events in history but my full sorrow goes out to anyone who lost friends or family.

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Post by Davie Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:05 pm

Great personal experience piece from WhiteCamry too

Guys - while I don't think we should censor opinions on the rights or wrongs of what preceded or came after 9/11, I don't think this is the place for them

Ideally I think those posts should be split off into another thread where you can discuss the vagaries of Bush's policies - could make for interesting debate itself - but this isn't the place. I'm just popping in quickly at the moment but if another mod or admin wants to split off the more controversial posts then go ahead - otherwise I'll do it later.

This thread of Kwini's (and the additions by people like WhiteCamry are) for recollections of the day - let's keep it that way please

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:14 pm

Remembrances of WhiteCamry and Shotrock greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Post by Davie Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:36 pm

Just so we get no accusations of censorship, some posts on this thread have been moved and will be incorporated into a different thread shortly

Please let's keep this thread to personal memories and emotions on that day - political points and conspircy theories can be made on the other thread shortly

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Post by crazy_dave23 Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:22 pm

I don't normally comment on Global Articles, but I have to say what a moving account of the day that was Kwini.

I will never forget that day and exactly where I was at the moment I first heard about it. It almost feels strange that it was 10 years ago, I can remember it all so well.

RIP

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Post by dewsweeper Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:28 pm

Kwini ,

Late seeing your post,been away.
Wow, what a great personal account of a day I suppose many of feel we know so much about.
I had just played in a Vets match at Lymm GC Cheshire and walked through the bar for a shower before our meal.I wondered why some members were watching a disaster movie on the golf club TV
in the early afternoon and only learned the truth on re- entering the bar for a pint. Shock all round to say the least ,hard to take it all in.We did not stop for our usual meal but all of us wanted to get back home ,to a sfe normal environment I suppose.
Here in the UK we have this past week had various documentaries on TV dealing with different themes about this atrocity,for me the one that affected me the most was '9/11 The Firemens Story'.
I was a fireman for 31 years until I retired in 1993 after 31 years service and felt I was perhaps hardened to tragic events.
Wrong ,I could hardly watch those guys of the NYFD gearing up to enter those burning towers.Firemen are used to moving against the flow of people at big incidents but all of them must have felt their task was to be barely possible.
All firemen, I suppose.feel that their Brigade is the best,I certainly did when I served in central London,
but the NYPD is in my opinion the toughest group around.
Again thanks for an excellent piece of writing,we expect nothing less.

Best wishes

dewsweeper


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Post by Grizzly Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:29 pm

kwini

Thanks for posting this - for reasons I can't explain I've always had an intense interest in this and other major disasters, watching the documentaries is one thing but hearing a personal account from someone who was there I find fascinating.

I made my first trip to NY in 2002, I remember not being able to get close to ground zero but found a little church that had been converted into a memorial of 9/11, I can't remember where exactly it was but it was a straight walk North up Wall St from Battery Park, on the West side of ground zero.
I remember walking around this church with my wife looking at all the artifacts and reading all the messages from children all over the world, unbeknowing we spent over 2 hours in this tiny church just try to take in all the emotion and feeling that existing there, my wife openly cried, me being a pathetic man made sure I didn't.
The world mourned at the time and the world will remember come Sunday.
I look forward to visiting the museum in December.

Thanks for sharing this with us.


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Post by Guest Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:47 pm

Well written,i remember the day clearly,it was only a couple of days out from our wedding day i felt sick to the stomach when watching the footage on tv, my wife and i made a pack not to see each other for two weeks before the wedding but that morning i felt compelled to go and see her,
i don't know why maybe part of me though that chaos would rule so i must protect my wife to be.
Still feel so sad for the families left behind.

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Post by ONETWOFOREVER Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:11 pm

You cant help but feel sad and anger for the people who died and I remember the day well. Where I was, what I was doing, what I saw. I do however hold maybe different views on the event then you guys but I wont divulge here, I just see it on a purely human level and feel bad for the lives lost but at the same time I cannot forget the lives lost of thoses around the world.

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Post by calamity jane Sat Sep 10, 2011 2:22 am

Kwini, thanks for sharing your memories. I can't imagine what it was like being so close.

I remember being at work (I was still living in the UK at this time) and waiting for a phone call from a lawyer in New York. He and a couple of his colleagues had been over in the UK the previous week to go over some documentation with me and my boss and had said he'd ring me when he'd confirmed the answers to a couple of queries we had. While they were in the UK, we'd taken them out for dinner, shown them the sights and they'd invited us to the US and promised to do the same.

So there I was, waiting for the call when I got an email from Mr C saying "hey it's a good job this didn't happen the other week when we were on our honeymoon, a plane has just hit the world trade center.". I assumed he meant a light aircraft had pinged off one of the towers.

Ten minutes later, I got another email saying "get into the conference room NOW" and I went and watched everything unfold on the TV. Totally unreal.

I had colleagues in Boston who were at Logan airport that day, and who were due to fly to New York. Thankfully, none of them were on the hijacked planes. I eventually got hold of the lawyers, a couple of whom had been very close to the WTC, but all were physically OK.

But I think the thing that had the biggest effect on me was a couple of weeks after 9/11 Mr C and I went to our friends' wedding. We were going to take our brand new digital camera, but decided that we'd take our old camera because there was an unfinished film in it and we thought we might as well finish it off.

We had the pictures developed and as well as the wedding pictures, there were the last few pics from our honeymoon in New York in June 2001. These included pictures of the New York skyline with the Twin Towers dominating the landscape, pictures of both of us on top of the Towers smiling and enjoying being at the top of the world, a picture of me chatting with one of the vendors selling stuff to tourists at the foot of the towers. She wanted to know who I was buying the little toy for. I still wonder if she was there when the planes hit and if she survived.

We've been back to New York a few times since, but I've still not been able to face going to Ground Zero.

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Post by JAS Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:47 am

Magnificent piece of writing Kwini. We all remember where we were that day when we heard the news. It sent shivers down my spine watching it on TV from several thousand miles away. Goodness knows what it must have been like to have been there in the immediate aftermath.

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