Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years ago

Very late at night, walking past the boarders lounge, where a few staff & lodgers were watching TV said: "You should have a look at this."

The TV station had cut into programming & was showing an unfolding dramatic event.

Watched for a while, trying to catch up with what was happening, it seemed that airliners had been flown into skyscrapers in New York city. Rather an horrific thought, thriller novel material, that never in your wildest dreams you'd expect to see in real life.

The finer details of New York city don't have much relevance to working stiffs on the opposite side of the world, thus the words "World Trade Centre" didn't mean much to any of us. Big cities are big cities, especially when they are on the other side of the world.

I searched my memory and suggested, (hoping I'd got the name right): "They'll go looking for Osama bin Laden for this." I seemed to recall that he was some sort of shifty Arab type who'd been in the frame for some sort of bombing attack on some US embassies or warships, or something.

Went downstairs & told the staff at work that airliners had been deliberately crashed into skyscrapers in New York. They scoffed at me & flatly refused to switch on the TV, not wanting to be seen falling for a prank.

It seemed to be a big event, but not one of such scale that I'd phone up anyone to tell them about it. Not at that time of night. I woke up my parents, & told them, they were disgruntled at being woken. There are always heavy duty events happening somewhere in the world.

Most people I knew found out when they woke up to it the next morning, by which time it was really big news. And I wished I'd been bold enough to contact them a few hours prior.

Interesting snippet: It was the first time I could remember that anyone had bothered to watch TV at that time of night, or that I had bothered to pay attention to what was on a TV screen.


Skeeter said...

A social acquaintace — anti-USA journo (ex ABC-TV) — phoned and woke us from deep dreams of peace. He told us to turn on our TV and watch the start of World War III.
I wasn't convinced that a world war would happen but, as a retired airline pilot, I knew that all our years of anti-terrorist procedures had just gone down the gurgler. None of the measures that we had relied on for decades would have stopped those mad bastards.
The journo sought my assistance to write an article on how the hijackers could have learnt to fly airliners. For obvious reasons, I refused to help him and convinced him that he should not write it.

RebeccaH said...

The finer details of New York City don't have much relevance to people in the US heartland either, but that day felt like being rammed in the gut with a broken beer bottle. And we've never been the same since.

Mine Host said...

As somebody (I forget who) at the time paraphrased JFK: "Today we are all New Yorkers."

It was difficult to find relevance, except that it happened to westerners in a similar country to ours. Big news always happens somewhere else. Even a city is difficult for some here to relate to, as for a 500 miles radius there wouldn't be anything with more than a few hundred people.
There's (older) people in my district who have never had the experience of having 1,000 people within the same radius of the horizon.

Relevance notwithstanding, at the time we'd never heard the words "World Trade Center". If asked to name a building in NYC, the more saavy of us could have said "Empire State Building" but nobody, to this day, would have a clue what it looks like.

Heck, in a list of worldwide buildings few in my town would recognise more than the Sydney Opera House, The Eiffel Tower, The statue of liberty & perhaps Big Ben.