Monday, September 12, 2011

Reflecting on 9/11 - Ten Years Later

Ten years ago, in early 2001, my mother's company put her forward for two different overseas positions. One of them was in New York. I was so excited at the thought that I could possibly move with her and live in such an amazing city. She told me all about the position, how she would be working in the World Trade Center. I had no idea what that was, but it sounded impressive. She didn't get the position, and we kept living our little Australian suburban lives.

Ten years ago I was eighteen years old. I was 20 weeks pregnant with my first child and living on my own for the first time. I woke up on that fateful day around 10am (oh those were the days) after staying up all night reading Tomorrow When the War Began.

I stumbled out to the lounge room, snuggled myself into my sloppy second hand couch and turned on the TV. And wondered what the heck kind of movie they were showing. It looked awfully realistic. I switched channels. There it was again. I flicked over and over listening to the commentary with my mouth hanging open. I thought for a moment that I might still be asleep, dreaming of war playing out the way it had in my books.

I sat there aghast at the sights unfolding before my eyes on the small television screen. I called my mother, who was distraught. A hundred and seventy six employees of her company lost their lives that day. I haven't stopped to think about the alternative. That we may have lost her that day.

Helicopters, army planes and commercial flights often passed over my apartment block. That day every time one flew overhead I was convinced it was the beginning of World War III. I held my stomach, thinking of the world my son would be born into. I was terrified, thinking that there was no way such an event could do anything but herald the beginning of a war.

I was right, partly.

It started a war. Hundreds of thousands of people have died. But the war did not come to my country. I was lucky. So many civilians and soldiers fighting for their country have lost their lives on a continent thousands of miles away.

Today, in New York City, thousands will gather for the tenth anniversary memorial 'celebrations'. I have deliberately left the television off all day, and will continue to do so. We do not need to relive the horror of that day. For anyone who lost anyone that day in September, every image of the twin towers falling is like watching their loved one die before their eyes, over and over. I wish the media would leave it alone.

Today, I am halfway through another pregnancy. So many things have changed. My life has changed. The world has changed.

Today I am thinking of the people who were told not to evacuate the building after the plane hit. The people who died saving those left behind, and the heroes who may die in the future from illnesses that began to ravage their bodies that day, and the days that followed. I am thinking of a New York friend of mine as she remembers what she viewed that day. As she stood and watched the plane fly into the North tower as she stepped out of the subway. I am thinking of every family living without their loved ones. If you have plenty of tissues ready, head over to Nikki's blog and listen to a story that is just one of so many.

Today, my beloved father in law is there, in NYC. I am praying that the day is peaceful and without incident. Just sitting here counting down the hours until he steps off the plane safely in our hometown in a few days time.

4 comments:

  1. Beautiful post. All over the world, we all remember...

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  2. Wonderful post. And I'm glad you and your mom were nowhere near NYC that day!

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  3. What Annie said.

    And thank you for putting it that way. You've completely explained what I couldn't even say to myself about why I refused to watch any of the "celebrations" on TV or read about them on the internet yesterday.

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  4. I'm so glad that fate kept you and your mother away from that tragedy. So horrific.

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