Sunday, 11 September 2011

Ten Years Ago

Like the lovely sas it hurts my heart to keep seeing pictures of planes hitting buildings but I can't stop watching.  There will be many millions of words written about the tenth anniversary of 11 September 2011 (forever to be known as 9/11), all of them far more eloquent than anything I can come up with so I won't try.

I will say, though, that this week, ten years ago, TLH and I were on holiday in New York.  He'd been a couple of times before on business, but I'd never been before.  The weather was stunning, we stayed in a fabulous boutique hotel (The Hudson Hotel, right next to Columbus Circle), we'd met up with some old friends from University who had moved out to the States some years before and we had a rare old time doing all the sights.

One day, towards the end of our week's stay, we decided to jump on a bus and go down to the Battery to do the obligatory Staten Island Ferry trip and stop off at Ellis Island Museum.  On returning to the southern tip of Manhattan,we wandered around a bit, and TLH stopped walking in a square with a metal statue of a man holding a large golden globe on his shoulders.  He asked me if I wanted to go up 'there'.  'Where?' I said, 'up there', he replied, pointing directly upwards.  I stared upwards and realised we were at the bottom of the World Trade Centre Towers.  I hadn't spotted them.  This may sound weird but there are so many tall buildings in NY that once they go above your eye-line, you don't tend to notice individual ones, unless you're specifically looking up.  They were SO tall I could barely lean back far enough to take them in.  They were intimidating and freaked me out a little.  I remember discussing with TLH about the car bomb placed in the underground car parks at the WTC in 1993 and how lucky it had been that the buildings hadn't collapsed then as, seeing how tall they are in real life, the amount of wreckage and damage that would have been caused would be unimaginable.  I also remember wondering if they'd ever caught the guy who had tried to blow them up.

It was very hot, I was tired, we'd been on the go all day and it was about 4pm, so I declined a trip to the observation deck.  We'd also been up the Empire State Building the day before and I wasn't entirely sure that the vista afforded from the top of the WTC would have been all that different.  I also clearly remember thinking 'I'll go up there next time we're here - after all, they're not going anywhere'.......

We left New York on, I think, 9 September 2011.

This was the photo I took from the Staten Island Ferry.  Within about 3 days of this picture being taken, the Towers were gone.

1 comment:

peevish said...

Thank you for telling this story. I, for one, am glad the anniversary is over now so the news stories can go back to normal. It is so wrenching to keep remembering it.

That sad and scary day, I was glued to my sofa nursing a 3 month old baby (my first), watching the news and trying not to freak out. I was watching The Today Show (from New York, of course) when it happened. Live coverage from hell. I saw the second plane hit, I saw the buildings come down. And I wondered what kind of world I'd brought this child into. Ten years later, I still wonder. I can't even imagine how terrifying it would have been to be in New York or Washington D.C. that day. And I am still completely in awe of all those who rush in save others.