Memories Of 9.11.2001
Other Posts on Current Affairs: Rick Warren
I thought that in memory of all who lost their lives, and those who lost loved ones, I would reproduce the comment I left on The New York Times online.
I expect, like me, you've been thinking about the terrible events of seven years ago. But can you remember where you were? I'm old enough to remember the assassination of John F Kennedy and still recall exactly where I was when the news came through. But 9/11 was worse. So much worse!
I was at home (in the UK) when my eldest daughter rang to ask me where my niece was. 'At work, I presume,' I said. At the time my niece was PA for Dan Rather, the newsreader. 'You'd better put on the TV,' my daughter said.
The pictures were horrifying. I immediately e-mailed my niece in Manhattan. She was aware of the situation but was unable to see what I was seeing. For the next hour or so we kept in touch and I relayed to her what I was seeing on my TV in the UK. Watching the drama unfold became compulsive viewing. You didn't want to see it, but were quite unable to look away!
It was almost as if to do so would be an affront to the victims. Even now it brings tears to my eyes to think of the people who jumped. I'd been on the top floor of the World Trade Centre only a few years earlier, when my daughter was working in Greenwich, just north of New York. I remember what it was like to look down from the top floor. (And I still have a street artists impression of the buildings framed on my sitting room wall.) I can't imagine what must have gone through people's minds in the moments before they hurled themselves from the windows.
My niece was one of those who went down to help at Ground Zero after the event. She was approached by the media to share her story for a large sum of money, but she felt it would be tacky to do so. All she'd done, she felt, was to do what any one with an ounce of humanity would do. Her humility won her one of the highest accolades in the UK, when she was awarded a CBE by Queen Elizabeth II. I'm proud to be able to say that she is not only my niece, but also my God-daughter.