9/11 – The Day We Missed

The Day We MissedReading today that it will be ten years since that horrific day – 9/11 2001, made me recall the events that happened to me at the time. Oddly enough, I had been in the US on holiday, and my flight left on September 10th 2001, out of Atlanta. I had spent two weeks or so on vacation after living in Jerusalem, and was heading for Geneva to meet up with my wife, as she had had to stay a while longer in Jerusalem to finish up her assignment.

So I took my flight and happily flew off to Switzerland, met up with my wife and we spent the first afternoon in Geneva shopping, lunch and such like. The next morning, we headed off to a small village where a friend had an apartment. He was away for six weeks working in Norway so he offered his place to us while he was away. It was perfect after our hectic time in Israel. Somewhere we could really relax, take it easy, go for walks and generally do nothing. We didn’t know anyone in the village, so we kept to ourselves and enjoyed each other’s company for the first day.

The apartment was very comfortable, and we settled in, not missing or even noticing that there was no television. So we carried on with our relaxing time, completely unaware of what had happened in New York. It wasn’t until a friend rang later in the evening to organise lunch for the following day that we had any idea at all. I recall him saying, ‘You’ve heard about the Twin Towers?’ Knowing my friend liked a joke, I was waiting for some kind of punchline, so I replied, ‘Yes, in New York.’ But his tone was different when he said, ‘They’ve gone.’

It took a little while for it to sink in, but as soon as I hung up the telephone I frantically grabbed my laptop and searched the apartment for an ethernet cable, finally locating one in the cellar. I hooked it up, found a connection, then my wife and I watched CNN, in shock at what had happened earlier in the day. We stayed glued to the laptop all night. Horrified.

8 thoughts on “9/11 – The Day We Missed”

  1. I remember that day very well. I was up late, it was already September 12th where I was and I was chatting with a good friend of mine in the US on ICQ. My television was on in the background and all of a sudden the programme that was on was interrupted by a “We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a breaking news story… yes, it appears that a plane has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Centre”

    At that point I swung around to look at the TV. I couldn’t believe my ears. And then I saw the images on my television. Flipped back to my computer and began franticly typing message to my friend that went something like this…

    Me: Holy crap mate!!!! someone just flew a damn plane into the WTC

    Him: What?!

    Me: Someone just flew a plane right into the bloody World Trade Centre in NYC

    Me: FUCK ME DEAD!!! There was just another one!!!!!!!!!!!! Into the other tower

    Him: no way!

    Me: I’m not kidding man! this is for real and happening RIGHT NOW!!

    Him: yeah sure Steve

    Me: Dude! Seriously! Turn on your TV if you don’t believe me. Doesn’t matter what channel, it’ll be on all of em.

    Like you, Derek, my wife and I were horrified.

  2. One of those days.. The world stood still and watched. I was 8 and very excited about my 9th birthday just 11 days after 11th Sept.. And still remember the CNN broadcast. The news broadcasters were speechless. So were we. Just silent. And it all came back on 26th November 2008 for us. We were watching an India-England ODI when the Mumbai siege took place. And it went on for 4 days. The reaction was the same. I sort of feel numb. Sometimes perhaps words are just not good enough..

  3. This definitely brings back memories…I was a freshman in high school at the time. That morning, me and one of my brothers were watching music videos. All of a sudden, my mom rushes into the kitchen and says, “Put on the news! Something really bad happened!”

    We turned on the news and watched the horrible events play out on television.

    But I still had to go to school that day…it was around the first week…so I went and on the announcements, my high school principal said, “We will be treating this like a normal school day. If you need any assistance and need to speak with someone, please come to the font office.”

    I couldn’t believe how the handled it, but then again, they wouldn’t want to just let us go for the day, because that would make it worse.

    That day will stay with me forever and it’s amazing how we all have our stories to tell about that day…

    1. As I gather I’m a fair bit older than you Nicole, I can only hope you have less of these awful days that stay with you forever than I have had. I truly wish that our small and fragile world would learn that violence is never the answer.

  4. Well, Derek, my experience was quite different mostly because of my close proximity. You see, I live about 50 miles north of Manhattan in a small Village on the Hudson River just over Storm King Mountain from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York and not too far up river from the Indian Point Nuclear Facility.
    I had watched NBC’s Today show almost every morning for years, but, that morning, my husband had left early to go down to the city for work, so I took advantage of having our only computer free to do some work on photographs, etc. He called me and said that he heard on the radio that a plane had hit the World Trade Center asking me if I knew anything about it. So I immediately turned on the TV; when I saw the second plane hit, I was not only horrified but, terrified as well. My children were at school; locked down I think, my older son in 8th Grade called wanting us to come get him when I went out, there were police at all the schools and armed military clad guards at the entrances to the New York Military Academy Prep School {Donald Trump’s Alma Mater} which is in our Village.
    I was glued to the TV; we had just moved in and the Telephone guy came to install phone lines pretty soon we were both watching the unfolding events in disbelief. Our so called “President” Bush immediately went into hiding, so we didn’t hear from him for quite some time, thus increasing our fears.
    My family got home safe, but, unfortunately we lost a fireman, my son’s classmate’s Dad. What followed was really amazing though; Americans came together like I don’t recall in my lifetime. Everyone hung flags on their doors, we bought socks and other things at Walmart to donate to the first responders, strangers helped strangers in the streets of NYC, etc.
    In the following days and weeks, as I drove my sons to swim practice a few towns over, I would pass the volunteer firehouse in out town draped, one in the next town draped and finally five wreaths in the Village where they swam for the firemen lost there, so sad.
    Even months later in May when the New York Military Academy which was right up the street from where we lived at the time, decided in their infinite wisdom to set off fireworks after 10 O’clock on a Saturday night without warning anyone in the Village we ran out of our rooms in panic not knowing what was going on! My husband ran out on the front lawn and said “Oh, it’s just NYMA setting off fireworks…”. The commander wrote a letter to the editor of the Local newspaper the following week, apologizing for “surprising” people with their little celebration. Oh yeah, thanks for nothing; I was literally shaking for an hour and we had a lot of elderly neighbors!

  5. That day was just plain horrible. I think NYers want to put it behind us, but I think that no matter how much someone says it does not affect their lives, it still does even 10 yrs later. I was not at ground zero but I did not live far from it at the time. Every day at home I could still smell the smells and see the rubble burning. I don’t know, I think that day deeply impacted all Americans but especially NYers. Whether we were there and experienced it first hand, lost someone, etc. It is a day that will never be forgotten and a day we should never forget. If we remember that day and those that died for us we will always keep their memory alive.
    I also think that in remembering that day, we learn to be better people. If we think back to how we came together as a nation in the weeks following 9/11 and how neighbors from every state supported each other, we will remember it was a beautiful thing. It was a great feeling knowing that we were there for each other. I wish we still had that feeling in America.

  6. Sinead MacDughlas

    I remember 9/11 as the day that changed my perspective on life. I was working in a mall and had gone to grab a coffee. On my way back to my store I passed the electronics store that always had CNN on one of the big T.V.s in the front window. I got to the window just as the live feed came up and one of the staff turned the volume to full. The entire mall froze. We all cried out in horror as the second plane hit and I wept rivers, just standing there. I’m nearly crying now just remembering. I watched for nearly an hour. When I got back to the store, the staff was angry at how long I’d been gone, my boss was on the phone yelling at me for it. They didn’t know what had just happened and I couldn’t form the words to describe it. I walked out of the store and drove home, shaking and sobbing. My job wasn’t important. In the face of such devestation, nothing in my life was important. In the weeks that followed, I thought about my life and how little I had accomplished with it. I also realized that I had been living in a benumbed state for a long time. I had shut out the world and was simply coasting along, barely content in my work and my marriage. I watched and read story after story about victims who had spent their lives doing things to better the world. The least I could do, in their honour, was live the life I was so lucky to have to the fullest, chase my dreams, achieve something. The least I could do was, once in a while, extend a hand to someone in need and give a little of myself….

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