It still seems surreal. It's the 10 year anniversary. I remember waking up that morning ten years ago and turning the TV on like I did every other morning. The images I was seeing were confusing and I thought for a couple of minutes that the world had ended. What on earth had happened? Planes flying into buildings. The Pentagon? Hijackings? Perhaps they were running a movie for some obscure reason or maybe I was dreaming? No, I wish I had been but what I was watching was reality. The world changed that day.
I had to drag myself away from the images of terror and get to work. My partner and I were both in shock at what had happened. The journey to work was quiet as was the city when I arrived. There was a really eerie feeling in the city that day. There were not many people around and as I walked down Flinders Lane and looked at the Rialto building I couldn’t help but think, could we be next?
Everyone I know remembers where they were that day as if it just happened yesterday. Every time I see the replay of the planes hitting the World Trade centre it sends cold chills down my spine. When I see the building collapse, my heart sinks for all the people that lost their lives. When I see all the fireman and emergency services workers trying their hardest to save those they could when faced with danger of such gravity, my chest hurts. I have such admiration and am in awe of these individuals who are so selfless. The look on their faces and in their eyes of desperation and helplessness was heart wrenching.
The world changed that day. The events of 9/11 took away our innocence and taught us just how evil evil can be. If the most powerful country in the world can be attacked with such magnitude, what can happen to the rest of us? Bali and London found that out first hand and more lives were lost. It changed the way we looked at people. We were suspicious of backpacks on trains, planes and buses, security was lifted to new heights and we couldn’t even take water onto flights. We were super suspicious of certain nationalities and people lost the ability to trust for a long time.
I travelled in April 2002 to the Middle East and it was fair to say that even though I travelled to Gallipoli on Anzac Day, there were very few Westerners that travelled beyond Turkey. We were pretty much alone and the major tourist areas were empty. There was one thing we needed to do and that was ensure we made it clear we were Australians. With a gun pointed at my head while waiting to cross a border (my parents do not know that!), I could not have been happier to be an Aussie and more eager to prove it. And they could not have been more determined to find Americans in retaliation of the war that was upon them in neighbouring countries. They would not find them. American travellers were not to be seen on their shores.
9/11 has been cited as a catalyst for the GFC as the American government made it easier for people to get their hands on money considering the trauma they had been through. They wanted to speed up recovery.
9/11 not only took so many lives that day, but significantly changed the lives of the people directly involved, especially the firemen who were exposed to dangerous chemicals. They are now suffering terminal diseases, depression, grief and feel that 9/11 took something away from them that they will never get back.
I can’t even imagine how all who were involved and who lost loved ones feel. I don’t think I can even pretend to know. I just want to hug my family close, especially my little niece and nephew and keep them safe.
In times of crisis and fear, people desperately look for hope, possibility and for someone to lead them through. Lucky for New York City then Mayor Rudi Guiliani stood up and did just that. He was the glimmer of hope for those people and offered the promise they would be ok and they would recover. They needed to unite and take it one step at a time. It takes a special kind of person to step up and take control, and Rudi Guiliani did just that.
For the people of America the scars of the day remain. The twin towers leave a gaping hole in their horizon. Loved ones are lost, memories remain. I admire the people of America and in particular the firemen and emergency services workers of New York. Their lives will never be the same again.
The world changed that day. We lost our innocence and we have so little left. The emotion is still so raw and the images so clear in our minds eye. The glimmer of hope is the resolve to move forward, to recover and to heal. We won’t be beaten and we won’t live in fear. They may have taken away our innocence but they will not take away our determination and our soul.
The world changed that day. We changed that day. One thing was proven. In the midst of despair and destruction, as human beings in the majority, we are driven by the need to help, protect and nurture those hurt and in trouble. Humanity was strengthened that day. As human beings we want to make a difference. This is what we can hang onto.