Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 - Ten Years on

It's hard to believe that it has been just on ten years since the world changed. The fateful day in which so many lives had been lost, murdered you may say because a terrorist group wanted to show its might, yet thinking about it all it did was bring the world together, a city, nation together as one.

I think back to the day in which was September 11, 2001. It seemed like any other day really, well in my eyes. It was a Wednesday morning I was woken up as usual by my mum to get ready for school. Being this was my final year in high school and so close to trial HSC exams and cramming as much as possible into my brain, I was slow to wake up, yet the tone in which my mum spoke got me worried.

She said that two planes had hit the World Trade Centre in New York City and another plane had hit onto the Pentagon in Washington DC. Now being a teenager I wasn't sure of what the World Trade Centre was.  Stupid I know but being all the way in Sydney I mainly knew Australian Icons. However in my defence I would say that I did know that there was two very large towers that defined the sleepless city. I also knew what the Pentagon was (I have Hollywood for that part).

So literally jumping out of bed, I went into the lounge room which by now my mum had it on CNN (at the time the only places you could get CNN was on cable - Optus TV or Foxtel) and I remember seeing the pictures and thinking is this real? Is this just Hollywood playing a joke on us or a movie trailer to a new action filming coming out in the summer, but no, it was in fact true.

Looking at the pictures and seeing the text below the screen ticking across I just couldn't real comprehend or even believe what was actually happening. I then looked over to the clock and realised that I would be late for school (having a disability does help as I had transport paid for and arranged by the Dept of Transport NSW and Dept of Education and Training in NSW at the time).

On the way to school, within our driver's van we remained listening or glued really to the radio and hearing at the time The Morning Crew (Wendy Harmer and Peter Moon) in which the voices of the hosts really brought home how much this tragedy really was. It made you just feel sick really.

I do remember this one caller who came through and she was hysterical as one of her family members (if I remember clearly I believe it was her son) in which she just wanted to know what was happening as she was in the car on the way to the airport and it was when Wendy Harmer came on (one of the Morning Show hosts) and said that they would be taking a break for a couple of minutes. All that was heard was a song (that I can't remember exactly) and they came back on and I just really remember one of the hosts of the show saying "I'm sorry folks but we have the grave and I mean grave news of informing you that the twin towers have collapsed. They are just rubble. I think just the emotion that came through made me and my fellow passengers, friends in fact including our driver want to be sick.

I remember that our driver at that stage said he would be pulling over and we prayed. We prayed for the victims, for the survivors, for the emergency workers and rescuers that maybe they would find peace given what had happened. It might sound silly but it was the only thing we could do.

I then remember coming into school and I was running a little bit late for my first period lesson - Geography in which over the last couple of week we had an exchange teacher from the USA. I remember walking into the classroom and that our normal teacher, Mr Gledhill, was at his desk and he said that given everything that had happened this morning that we would talk about the events that had unfolded.

It was a couple of minutes into explaining what had just happened before class started our teacher informed us that the exchange student (who I cannot for the life of me remember her name and for this I truly do apologise) was not coming in and that she was in fact packing to go back to the United States as her brother worked in the World Trade Centre and well was not sure if he got out or not. In some ways I felt so sorry for her because she was a very, very long way from home.

I just wish we would have found out if her brother survived or not. At least then either way we would have been able to say we are thinking of you and your family and to this day, every time 9/11 comes up I do think about her family and hope and pray that no matter what, that she and her family would be ok.

I remember the rest of the day was spent watching, ready, searching on the net on what had happened. To this day I still can't believe what did unfold. I know that in this generation and many more to come, that 9/11 will be remembered for the tragic loss of life, for the way lives where suddenly turned upside down and inside out.

So ten years on now we think, pray and hope, continue to build and renew, become stronger and more resilient, willing to fight and show terrorists that no matter what, we will fight back!

Ten years on we remember, never forget and show our solidarity.