Sunday, 11 September 2011

Memories of 9/11

We were living in Amsterdam. My children were 1 and 5. My husband’s cousin had come to stay and I   switched on the television so that the children could watch Tweenies while we had a cup of tea and a chat.The Tweenies weren’t there. Instead there was an office building, a blue sky. As we watched – irritated, the children whining for their programme – a plane smashed into the building.
What on earth? There was no sound, but a caption on screen said: ‘Pictures from the WTC.’ I only knew one WTC…the Amsterdam WTC, right next door to my husband’s office. I must have switched onto a Dutch channel, I panicked, this must be happening just down the road. What on earth? Was he OK?
Then the sound kicked in, and it was the BBC, and it was New York. And so my first feeling as I comprehended what was happening and where, was -  momentarily - relief.
Ten years on, I still feel bad about those five seconds of relief.


  1. To have had any other sort of reaction wouldn't have been human. My husband was due to fly from Washington to NY that day, I didn't know which city he was in as it all happened, I don't remember my relief when I at last heard from him, but am sure I felt it.

  2. I felt immense relief too - relief when the mother of my godchildren sent a message to say she was all right and her husband was not at the office that day but travelling. Could I please 'phone her parents because she could not get through to them? The relief of being able to give them good news still makes me feel guilty too.Cat(downunder)

  3. Funny how so many people remember the blue sky. Maybe because it was pronising to be such a perfect day - before it happened and our world changed.