Sunday, September 11, 2011

Empire State of Mind

Ten years ago today I was 22, living by myself in a tiny flat in Canberra, and working 6 days a week. On the day the world changed forever I turned the radio on shortly after waking up and heard the news that the World Trade Centre had been hit by a plane. At that stage it was thought to be an accident. I arrived at work to find my colleagues gathered around the TV in the office, and by then it was obvious that this wasn't an accident at all. We only had the TV out because a few days earlier we had proudly watched Australian Lleyton Hewitt win the US Open: it seems like such a trivial little detail to remember but nothing about that day made sense, why should my memory of it be any different? We stood there all morning, transfixed. We went about our business in stunned silence and cried openly as we watched the twin towers fall. It felt so surreal, like we were watching a horror film. At the end of that day I called my family and close friends and told them that I loved them, and to this day, I still do it more often than I used to. We were so far away from the tragedy infolding that it was already the 12th of September where we were, but at the same time we were connected to it by a sense of profound sadness and loss, that we shared with billions around the world. We knew that for those of us who were alive on that day, nothing would ever be the same. The world as we knew it, would never be the same.

Today, as I remember the events of that awful, godless day, I'm still deeply sad. Sad for the individual losses: for those who died and the fear they must have felt, for those who lost loved ones, the children who will never know their fathers. I'm sad for what we lost as a global community, all those lives, that innocence, that sense of freedom that was replaced with shock and grief and fear. But while I'm sad, and at times a little afraid, I'm remembering with overwhelming respect and admiration those who survived. The world's most celebrated, most resilient, most amazing city and the way it picked itself up and rebuilt. Those who refused to let the bad guys win, and those who turned a horrible tragedy into inspiration to live a better life. The people who honour their lost loved ones by continuing to live one day at a time, one foot in front of the other. And each and every person who remembers exactly where they were that day. They give me hope that my son will never know a day like 9/11.

No comments:

Post a Comment