My 9/11 Memory

September 12, 2011 in Misc by pacejmiller

It was a Tuesday night in Sydney on 11 September 2001.  I had just finished an evening class at university and arrived home with my sister.  My parents were overseas so it was just the two of us.

As I usually did after returning home from am evening class, I went up to the guest room beside my bedroom to play some games on my PS2.  I believe it was a Dynasty Warriors game.  About an hour later I was spent and decided to see what was on TV before going to bed.  I had expected a sitcom or a movie, so the last thing I expected to see was the news.  Breaking news.  A commercial plane had just crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  The side of the building was on fire and a billow of black smoke was surging into the sky.

Not knowing much about the World Trade Center and its significance, I didn’t think it was anything more than just a tragic accident.  There must have been some stuff up with the pilot and the control centre, I thought to myself.  I flipped the channels and saw that every station was covering the incident.

I turned off the television and went and brushed my teeth.  For some reason, I had a very uneasy feeling about the whole thing, so I decided to switch the TV back on for one last glance before sleeping.  I still remember the chill that shot through by body when the image flashed onto the screen.  Both towers of the WTC were now on fire.

By now there was no mistaking that this was an act of organised terrorism, but the question was who?  Why?  And why the WTC?

I called out to my sister, and for the next twenty minutes or so we remained glued to the TV.  We had not yet grasped the magnitude of the attacks and had no idea that the world had already changed forever.  By the time we went to bed, we both thought the whole thing was all over.

I slept well that night but woke up early before 6am the next morning.  The first thing I did was walk into the room next door and turn on the TV to check on the aftermath of the plane crashes.  The first image I saw was confusing — they weren’t showing the WTC; rather, it was a massive pile of rubble and people covered in ash.  Before I computed what had happened, the image switched to the Pentagon, which now had a giant hole in it, then a field in Pennsylvania, also with a crashed plane.  Then the scrolling text running along the screen confirmed the fears I had from the first image — that the Twin Towers had collapsed.

I’m not American and I would not visit New York for the first time for another seven years, but the feeling of unspeakable dread that fell upon me at that exact moment has never been forgotten.  Ten years on, I still remember it as clearly as yesterday.