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Commemorating 9/11

September 11, 2009

So here we are. 11 September 2009. Eight years on from the horror of that terrible, awful day. Can it really be eight years? I remember it like it was yesterday. It’s true that time goes by so fast, but I’m glad not to forget. It sounds strange – why shouldn’t we want to put the memory of those events out of our minds and move on? Well, I believe that we can move on, but we need to take the memories with us, just as those who were directly caught up in the events on that day have been forced to do ever since. An event like 9/11 changes us as a person, and no amount of trying to suppress the memory is going to conceal that fact. Besides, we cannot ever afford to forget those who were killed, and those who willingly gave their lives so that others could live. I remember exactly where I was as the planes hit the towers, and as they came down. I remember being frozen in front of the TV, unable to move – not wanting to watch but unable to look away as the dreadful reality of the situation unfolded. It was surreal, terrifying and utterly, utterly devastating.

All day today, I have been dithering about whether to blog. Not only because several people will be writing about this incident today – and rightly so – but also because I have no claim on the grief of that day, other than as a horrified and appalled observer. But then, I felt that ignoring today’s date, pretending that it doesn’t exist, blogging my Feline Friday post as if all was right with the world, would have been disrespectful. So I decided to just go ahead and write what I’m feeling.

I have never visited New York. In fact, I have never even left Europe, let alone ventured as far afield as the United States of America. However, I feel a deep connection with that beautiful, vibrant city – and with its people. My grandmother lived in Manhattan as a young woman, having originally gone to the U.S. to visit relatives in Connecticut. (She disembarked the ship waving a bottle of Irish whisky for her uncle, completely unaware that it was the height of the Prohibition era!) I grew up with tales of the lights of Broadway, the smells and sounds of the city, the towering office blocks and the people who were so friendly – and so fascinated by the girl with the British accent. (Actually, she was Liverpool-Irish, so the poor folks were probably just struggling to understand a word she was saying!) All through my childhood I was regaled with tales of the city – and I resolved that I, too, would make it my home.

My father also is familiar with New York. He was a Merchant Navy sailor, working aboard the Queen Elizabeth and regularly making the Southampton-New York run. I have seen pictures of the ship docked in New York, heard him talk about the piers and the bars and the friendly policemen! The last time he went to New York was before the twin towers of the World Trade Center had even been built – and he has not been back since. How sad that he knows the city so well, yet never had the chance to visit this iconic building. That the skyline now looks much as it was when he was last there, as if those majestic towers had never existed.

For my part, I haven’t made it to that wonderful city yet. I allowed the chance to pass me by in my youth, and I’m not sure I would want to raise the Chipmunk in such a busy (and noisy!) place. But I am still determined to visit. I feel an affinity with the city – and with the New Yorkers who are so brave and so resourceful, who refuse to be broken by a cowardly act of terror designed to defeat them – and the rest of the Western world – into submission. I have a love for the city that comes from a childhood spent learning about it. I almost feel like I know it by-proxy! And I know that no matter what, New York’s people – and the rest of the world – will not be beaten. And we will never forget.

God Bless America.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. tndaisy1960 permalink
    September 11, 2009 16:06

    It doesn’t matter that you’ve never actually been to N.Y.; you’re a citizen of Earth, and that in itself gives you the right to grieve for those affected by such a heinous act. A beautifully written tribute to your friends across the Pond šŸ™‚

  2. Gina permalink
    September 11, 2009 18:01

    very fitting and moving comment. I had not thought about the right to grieve in the same way as you have, but you are absolutely right we are human beings and we can and should express our feelings wether it be for ourselves and friends locally or a global matter like this. Thank you for expressing something that enables you’ to think outside the box’ in other areas of our lives as well.

    Bless you Hannah

  3. Leonard permalink
    September 11, 2009 22:25

    Lovely post, Hannah. Spent all day talking to the kids about the events of that terrible day. We must always remember. Thanks for taking the time to share, and hurry up and cross the pond!!! šŸ˜€

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