For the last 10 years, the anniversary of 9/11 has passed with little acknowledgement in “my world”. The date is remembered, and there is usually a large article in the newspaper, but nothing to the extent of that here. As an Australian, the horror that unfolded that day in 2001, although affecting me indirectly through my country joining the United States in the war against terror, did not affect me directly. At the time, I certainly didn’t know anybody who was affected by the attacks on the World Trade Centre or the Pentagon. I didn’t know anybody on United flight 93. I didn’t even know anybody who lived in the United States. I had never visited. To me, a 16 year old high school student, the United States was SO far away – somewhere I’d hopefully visit one day, but somewhere I had only seen picture of. Even now, I don’t have a visual memory of having seen a picture of the New York City skyline pre-9/11.
But being in the United States on the 10th Anniversary of the attacks makes it seem that bit more real. I turned on the TV this morning and the news was playing over the news that was broadcast on 9/11/01. The newscasters speculating on how a plane could have flown into a tower on such a clear summers day. And then, the horror as the second plane hits. One thing that I saw this morning, that I don’t remember seeing ten years ago, was the collapse of the second tower, how it was reduced to rubble in what seems like seconds; and with that, the crowds of people running down the streets away from the huge cloud of dust and debris, that engulfed NYC like a tidal wave.
I was trying to remember as best I could what I remember about that day. I remember waking up in the morning on what was September 12 in Australia, and my mum was sitting in front of the TV. This was strange, because my mum ran a restaurant at the time, and generally didn’t get up in the morning before my sister and I (who was 14 at the time) left for school. I remember her telling me that she thought about waking me, but because I was in the middle of preparations for my 11th grade yearly exams, she’d left me to sleep. I still to this day wish she’d woken me. Other than that, I don’t remember any other conversation we had.
I remember going to school, and sitting in Mrs. Evers Society & Culture class and watching the news on the TV. I remember thinking that World War 3 was about to start. When we went out to lunch, we sat in B-Quad and I’m pretty sure that’s all we talked about. Every now and then I would look up into the sky and expect to see Army planes or something that signified war.
This day is a big day of remembrance for the United States, and in turn, the western world. Let us remember the strength and courage of those who were lost that day. Of those who went into the building to save lives and never came out. Of the survivors. Of those that have lost their lives in the 10 years since in the war against terror. And of those who continue to protect us and fight for our freedom. Let us always remember, and never forget.