Friday, September 11, 2009

On a day like today

Eight years ago today, my brother was on his honeymoon. My parents were in England, staying over after the wedding for a few days before returning to Houston and I was working in Manchester.

I left work at 1.30pm and got the train to Halifax to see my parents.

The train journey from Manchester to Halifax is about 50 minutes through the countryside so it's difficult to get a phone signal. Once I stepped off the train in Halifax I had quite a few missed calls and a couple of voicemails.

While I was on the train terrorists had attacked the US flying planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The reason people were calling me was because my brother and his wife were flying from New York to Las Vegas on September 11th 2001. Their honeymoon was going to New York, Las Vegas, and then down to Houston to spend few days with my parents.

They never made it to Las Vegas.

Luckily, they were ok, but it was a frantic afternoon spent trying to get in touch with them, trying to get information, trying to remember their travel plans.

As all the phone lines were down in New York, they had no way to let us know they were ok. Our main contact was a limo driver in Vegas who was due to meet them at the airport. He called us a number of times to let us know what he knew and used his contacts in New York to try and get information.

My brother and his wife finally managed to get a flight to Dallas on Saturday September 15th. They then hired a car to drive to Houston.

Even 8 years on, the memories are clear. Whenever there's such a big world event you remember where you were when you first heard about it. I remember where I was during the Hillsborough disaster. I remember where I was when Diana died, and I remember where I was on September 11th 2001.

If I had been alive, I'm sure I would remember where I was when JFK was shot. As I wasn't born yet I'm pretty sure I have a solid enough alibi to avoid getting dragged into any conspiracy talk.

I'm still fascinated by September 11th. It is probably the defining moment of our generation. Watching the footage of the planes crashing into the World Trade Centre and the twin towers' subsequent collapse is still as shocking today as it was at the time.

As terrible as this event was, this was one hell of an attack on the part of the terrorists responsible. To hit the United States with such ferocity, within it's own borders was remarkable.

I've only ever flown through New York via it's airports but I would like to visit ground zero one day. Maybe it will still be a construction site when I do, maybe the Freedom Tower will be standing but i would like to go and pay my respects in person, as well as have a nose around myself.

The world has changed a lot over the last eight years, but a lot of things are still exactly the same.

1 comment:

  1. And the most shocking thing about that was that I had breakfast on times square and ordered sausage and scrambled egg and they came on a pancake! What is that all about. And they were chipolatas - I had to get a hot dog for elevenses - we have that in the country!! I like your posts by the way - very funny. I would have posted this un anonymous but couldn't fathom the drop down menu!!! Our Kid by the way!!!