Where Were You?

September 11, 2011 at 12:10 am 10 comments

This is my 100th post. I thought long and hard before doing this post, I don’t want you to think I am jumping on a bandwagon. However, this post remembers a moment in time for most in this world so I will write…..

Where were you on 9/11? The tenth anniversary is here for that most awful day and for my generation it equates to the ‘Where were you when JFK was shot’ moment. I remember the day so clearly and I always will.

I was at work, at that time I worked for a Canadian communications company in their Northern Ireland factory IT unit. I loved working there and we were having a normal day. I was involved in a large project and wasn’t joining any conference calls that day so was focused on the tasks in hand. It was a quiet day, everyone getting on and chatting quietly. Then one person took a call from home. Her mum was watching the news, when the call was over she said the strangest thing – ‘It looks as if a plane has crashed into the World Trade Centre in New York’. The initial reaction from our office was puzzlement, we assumed it was an accident. Then another call came through. ‘They are wondering if it wasn’t an accident’. Those words were spoken by my friend so slowly. She looked as if she was speaking a foreign language, trying out the words for the first time.

We all stopped. It was too weird, too big, too wrong. One of my colleagues lifted a television out of the cupboard, the IT support folks who worked the late shifts had it for the quiet evenings. We turned it on, crowded round, watched the BBC. No-one spoke, we just watched. And then the unthinkable happened, the second plane hit and we all knew this was no accident. Again, no-one spoke. I don’t remember how long we stood there, time slowed until the first tower fell. And then there were tears; we knew there was very little chance for those still in the building. Then of course we watched for the fall of the second tower. It was horribly inevitable, we were numb by the time the North Tower started to crumble.

When I think back to that day it is the quiet I remember. There were tears without sound, everyone was lost within themselves watching the horror. We all went back to our desks and tried to access news websites. I think we all wanted to be lost in our own small bubbles, speaking was just too hard.

I know I watched news compulsively for the next month. It wasn’t purient interest, it was sadness, I couldn’t not watch, I felt it would be disloyal not to find out about those who died as a result of this madness.

I have written before about growing up in a country that had violence reported nightly. It creates a ‘bipolar’ aspect to your life. You live your life, doing the ‘normal’ things and then come home, switch on the news to see who has been murdered or kneecapped or beaten. You say the words ‘How awful’, ‘Why does this have to happen’, ‘What must people think of us’ but over time it becomes some macabre routine, the words lose meaning. At this point you worry that you will lose the ability to care, a horrible thought. But then we suddenly gained peace and the world was a sunnier place. That is why I will always find 9/11 so shocking, so hard.

I think often of those who died. They were just like me, they had homes and families and went to work living their lives the best way they could. On this tenth anniversary I will think of them but I will think of their loved ones more. I hope they are living their lives. I hope they smile and laugh, that is what those who are gone would have wanted.

Those who read this blog know why I write it. I do not add my closing words to this post. My closing words today are to those who would plan and carry out attacks like this again. Don’t. Please don’t. Nothing can be gained from actions like this, nothing will ever be gained by actions like this. Words will always hold more sway than violence……..


Entry filed under: 9/11, wheniwas8. Tags: .

Relaxation…. The Power of a Three Letter Word.

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Phil Ruse (@PhilRuse)  |  September 12, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Nothing out of the ordinary. In work and then something horrifyingly extraordinary. Slow to no internet access, trying to find out what it meant. Still working on that. I remember the entirely appropriate change to last night of the proms, then wonder if we shouldn’t have defiantly stayed the same… still working on that too.

    • 2. when i was 8 i wanted to be....  |  September 12, 2011 at 6:38 pm

      Hi Phil,

      You have caught the tone of the day as so many experienced it. A normal day turning into horrifying. I agree with you on the change to the last night of the Proms. I watched the memorial yesterday and was moved. I think that is why we remember, so that we do not forget and work to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

      Lesley x

  • 3. Frances Coppola  |  September 12, 2011 at 2:30 am

    When I heard the news I was just about to leave the office to go the airport to get on a plane…….It isn’t just those directly involved whose lives were changed by 9/11. My story is here http://bit.ly/p2vyCY

    • 4. when i was 8 i wanted to be....  |  September 12, 2011 at 6:58 am


      That is part of the overall impact. Many lives destroyed but things changed forever…..

      Lesley x

  • 5. Richard Lyle  |  September 11, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Thank you. It would be wrong to say I enjoyed reading this but it put a few things in context for me.

  • 7. iainmonty  |  September 11, 2011 at 8:24 am

    As always Lesley, you say things beter than me.


  • 9. John Kennedy  |  September 11, 2011 at 1:20 am

    I will always remember the thought of people running to safety whilst the Police, Fire Fighters & Paramedics ran into the buildings. Brave men & women who just did the right thing because it was their job.

    God bless them all.



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