Remembering the Victims of 9/11

To head this post, I’d like to share with you the following excerpt from one of my old diaries:

Tuesday 11th September, 2001:

Got home from school to find mum in a state of distress with the t.v on.  There was news, smothering every channel, about trouble in New York.  4 planes had been hijacked and crashed – two of which had been directed into the Twin Towers, which consequently collapsed.  The city centre is covered in dust.  Thousands have been killed, vast amounts injured.  The finger of blame is pointing at Palestine.  People are likening this to a much worse version of Pearl Harbour, and fearing a Third World War.  There are also whispers that London will be next.  Tony Blair is pledging allegiance to President Bush which means we would be their allies in War.  Everyone I know is completely shocked and subdued right now.

Do you remember where you were, and what you were doing, when you first heard news of this atrocity?  I don’t know of one person who isn’t able to recollect this information when asked.  I can clearly remember also, returning to school the next day and our headteacher showing us newspaper images in assembly.  For somebody normally so outspoken, on this occasion she said very little, for the pictures spoke a thousand words.  I think, for many of us teenagers sat in the hall that day,  pumped up on the innocent naivety of our youth, the news served as a harrowing notification of a world beyond Watford.  Yes, two towers collapsing 3500 miles away does effect us.  There is more to our planet than the daily rugby scrum around the vending machine in the school canteen.  Powerful nations are not exempt from tragedy, and our world will never be the same again.

There is a lot to be said about 9/11.  It is a topic of much debate across the globe.  Occurring at a time in which the internet was rapidly gaining popularity, it is arguably one of the most documented and debated events of all time.  Suddenly, more and more people, young and old, rich and poor, were firmly planting their flags somewhere along the spectrum of political opinion in an attempt to try and answer the question on everybody’s lips – why?  How did this happen?  Who is responsible?

However, this weekend, let’s cast aside our various beliefs and opinions over where we apportion our blame, and remember one thing and one thing only – all the victims who lost their lives on that day.  9/11 isn’t merely about a straightforward tussle between the U.S government and Al-Qaeda, it’s also about the number of innocent people – from both societies- who have been caught up in the brawls of their leaders, losing their homes and loved ones because a minority of people in a position of world power were unable to resolve their differences any other way.

This Post is for the real victims of 9/11, the ones who had no choice but to be caught up in it.  I’m referring to all the mothers and fathers who ended up losing their lives on what was meant to be another Tuesday in the office, working hard to provide for their children.  I’m also referring to all the firefighters who so bravely went out to face the terror head on in order to try and save as many lives as possible.  And finally, I refer to all those who have had to live with the pain of their family being torn apart, or the images engraved in their memories of people jumping from 80 floors up in a desperate attempt for escape – one of whom would land on a firefighter and consequently kill him with the force from his falling body.  That kind of visual is one that just shouldn’t be happening in the 21st century, but it is.

2,977 people lost their lives that day –  people just like you and me – the peace-seeking working class.   The only difference is that they were there that morning, and we weren’t.

Below is a tribute that somebody made about the disaster.  It is incredibly moving and at times distressing.  But for anybody who questions why we remember this atrocity every September, this is why:

Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I hope one day that peace will come, for all of us, everywhere.

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