I went to bed Tuesday night, September 11 2001, and dreamt about planes flying into high buildings. It couldn't have been from hearing it while sleeping as it was just mum and me living together, we were both sleeping and my window was closed so my cat couldn't escape through the screen she'd previously broken. I was woken at 5am by mum crying, turning on my TV saying that America was at war.
It was like watching some movie, it was so unbelievable. This type of thing didn't happen in real life. Then the images of the jumpers came through. Over two hundred people jumped over one hundred storeys to their deaths. Those images will never be erased from my memory. I remember thinking how horrible it would be for their family members watching their loved one so desperate to jump out of a window so high to their ultimate death. Traumatising. Together my mum and I watched the shocking events unfold crying.
It was raining and mum wanted to drive me to school but I had to catch the bus, I had to see my friends straight away and discuss what had happened. At school classes stopped, merged together to watch the news on TV or listen to the radio. Time ceased and we were in a turmoil of shock never before encountered.
At lunch we huddled around together discussing what the attacks meant for us. We all knew what terrorism was but never on this level. Would conscription occur again? What country were we at war with? Should we all start stocking up on food, clothes and entertainment just in case this meant the depression was reoccurring? All thoughts of fifteen year old kids.
After school I went home and taped the news events knowing that this was a monumental time of our lives. I still have that VHS somewhere but nothing to play it on. There was too much terrible news with hardly any good news to counteract the bad. I remember feeling overwhelmed, turning off the TV and reading a book.
For the next week there was no escaping the attacks. Stories of heroism leaked though; the 'average' people on Flight 93, the volunteer firefighters, policemen and ordinary people who all died to save others. Stories of heartbreak were told; people who weren't supposed to be anywhere near where they were killed, family members holding up 'missing' posters hoping that somehow, somewhere their loved one would be alive. Stories of the people responsible were leaked to the media who helped entice hatred for not only terrorists but for a whole race. Politicians played their respective parts in invoking hatred based on anger and fear for anyone who looked like they could have been the terrorists responsible.
Two politicians stood out in the midst of the chaos. One was New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. He stayed calm and tried to keep his people and city calm by saying what always seemed to be the right things. Without him I don't think the city would have worked so well during the chaos. He was the hope everyone needed. The other politician was, of course, President George Bush. His expression when told of the horror while in the middle of that school just confirmed how bad these events really were. I feel for him being in such a wrong place when everything crumbled. He was criticised for events out of his control. No one could comprehend the weight being placed on his shoulders at such a crucial time.
September 11 changed our world. It was used as an excuse to send our Forces to not one but two wars. Families around the world lost loved ones while America lost icons in buildings and people. I couldn't comprehend the reasoning behind or enormity of September 11 when I was fifteen and ten years later I'm still struggling.
Rest In Peace all who died on and after September 11 due to these attacks. In our hearts and minds you will always stay, never forgotten.