Shall we talk about 9/11?  or is It still too painful to revisit all of that suffering on the anniversary of the attacks.

On September 11th 2001, America was rocked by a series of terrorist attacks committed in New York City and Washington DC by Al-Qaeda. It was the deadliest attack ever carried out on American soil and it led to years and years of wars and conflicts across the Middle East (most notably Iraq).

We talk about 9/11 every year around this time, but we never really do anything significant to remember or honour those that were killed 20 years ago today. We just say “never forget” like it’s some kind of mantra people go through their lives saying without actually meaning what they’re saying…

Today we will talk about.

I was 16 years old on September 11th, 2001. Two decades later and I still don’t remember anything as clearly as that Tuesday lunchtime (here in the UK). I remember having just started my college years, having just finished high school 3 months earlier. The day started like any other, I got the bus from Grantham to Lincoln early! I used to catch the 7:05am that would get me into Lincoln just after 8:30am. At lunch times we used to go The Duke Of Wellington pub for a free game of pool and a glass of coke. whilst lining up my shot I watched as the news reported that a plane had accidentally collided with one of the towers of the World Trade Centre “wow” I remember thinking to myself.  “that pilot must have messed up big time”.

When the news presenter said it was a small plane I turned to my mate and said “what would be the chance of 2 planes colliding?” At this point we were glued to the screen as the second plane hit the second tower.  I was like “what is going on?” and we watched and talked about it and were shocked at the scene. It was then that they mentioned that it had been a deliberate attack I just couldn’t believe this, who would want to do such a thing, why? As a 16 year old just starting out in the world, you’ve spent your life thus far being sheltered from terrorists and atrocities like what happened in New York on this day, as a child, because let’s face it that’s what you are at 16, you just don’t think that this is something that could happen at all, it was a stark lesson in life and death. 

20 years on and we remember them, we remember the victims of that day, we will never forget.

The United States of America holds a special place in my heart. While I am not an American, the U.S has given me countless opportunities to explore its land and meet wonderful people from all walks of life some of whom have become family members over time through their unique stories that are so relatable despite our cultural differences.

I have a personal connection to America, and my goal is one day calling it my home because of this close relationship with its people, so what happens in the US matters to me.

Watching programs like “9/11: Phone Calls from the Towers” makes the severity of what was happening all those stories up hit home, innocent people going about their daily work, some going in for the first day, some just going to clear a desk for the last!  All in all, normal people doing their normal thing.

The one thing that strikes me is the courage shown by both civilians and emergency services workers who put themselves at risk to help others. I’m sure you’ve seen the videos of people jumping out windows to escape what felt like certain death either by fire or suffocation/asphyxiation. The first responders like Orio Palmer who climbed to the  78th floor to help evacuate occupants when he could have just left them in the hands of God. These people are heroes and deserve to be remembered as such. 

9/11 is a day that will be remembered for years to come. The world changed that day and we all know it has only become worse in the years since. Whilst there hasn’t been an attack on that scale , terrorism has shown itself to still be a very real threat in the modern world.

I hope that one day we will reach a point where these attacks are isolated and nothing more than small pockets of noise that barely makes the 10th page. 

For now we remember and honour the victims and heroes and pray that it will be a peaceful future for all.

Stay blessed everybody and have a fantastic day.  

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