Sunday, 11 September 2011
World Trade Center
Look carefully into this picture and you'll see my feet, or at least my shoes. The pictures are from my old snapshots.
It was my first ever trip to New York and I'm standing at the top of the World Trade Center looking down to the Plaza below. I was with a small gang of friends and we were on our way back from a meeting in North Carolina and had routed via New York to spend a whirlwind day 'doing the sights' before hopping a plane back to London.
Our visit to New York was uneventful. It was in the days before zero tolerance and we'd moved around as slightly cautious wide-eyed tourists. I'd been back to the World Trade since then, for a proper business meeting many stories high.
Then forward to ten years ago. Like pretty much everyone, I've the solemn memories of that New York morning, viewed as an afternoon from the UK. In my case I was driving an old white car to a garage to pick up a brand new blue one from the show room. As I arrived there were people huddled by a television in the corner of the dealership.
"Someone has flown a plane into the World Trade Center," came an explanation to me. I thought they meant a light aircraft - like a Cessna - or even one of the many helicopters that flitter around New York. I walked to the television and people there were explaining "It's crashed into the Pentagon."
It was the early stages of the news coverage and didn't make total sense. I picked up the shiny new car and tuned to a news channel on the way back home. It was at least another ten minutes into the journey that the proper news reports started to come in about the atrocities that were unfolding. I drove home and flicked on the main television coverage from CNN.
Then, like many, I watched shocked as the terrible events unfolded on camera.
The world permanently changed that day and even now it is difficult to join some of the dots on things that happened afterwards. Living right in the middle of a major event, in a connected world, it is still difficult to piece together the cause and effect linkages between the brutal and callous act of terror and some of the decisions that followed.
A few days after September 11, I received a mail item from the USA. It was some sort of minor financial transaction. The address on the transaction was World Trade Center, and the date 9/11.