Like most people, I’ve been remembering this day ten years ago. My memories of that day are in no way important or significant to anyone but me, but I’m compelled to put them down...
I was home in London getting ready to go to work at a studio that afternoon, when the news flashed up on TV that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center.
The news was shocking, but I left my husband watching unfolding events while I went to work – ironically, for a company that produces in-flight content for the airlines.
I arrived at the studio to find lots of people clustered around a tiny, retro-style TV. The first tower had just fallen. I have seen that particular bit of film over and over, and am used to it now, but at the time it was shocking beyond belief.
Maybe it’s because I’m American, but my colleagues made way for me and let me get closer to the screen. I don’t quite remember the order in which things happened, but I do remember the great kindness they showed me – when we heard that a plane had come down in Pittsburgh, my home town, they hugged and patted me and immediately provided a phone so that I could call my family and make sure everyone was okay.
I think it was then that we saw the second tower fall. There was stunned silence after that. Eventually someone said, in a small voice, that maybe we should get on with our work.
Suddenly our light-hearted little in-flight entertainment program felt weighted with emotion. It seems a bit silly now, but at the time I thought, ‘What if my voice is the last thing someone hears?’ It seemed terribly important to inject as much warmth and life into it as I could. I’m embarrassed to admit that now - but all of us in the studio that day felt a special kind of connection with those who died on the planes.
As I walked home from the studio, thinking about things, my observations were: 1. that the kindness of others means everything, 2. that it’s important to carry on no matter what and 3. that a job isn’t just a job – it can be infused with meaning.
As I said at the start of this post, these are just impressions of my tiny, insignificant corner of an immense tragedy. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones on that day. I can only imagine what they’ve suffered these past ten years. They are in my thoughts and prayers – especially today.