Friday, 11 September 2009


What was I doing when the planes hit the two towers?

I was returning home from work, pulling into my driveway. Head still working on an insolvency case – some bloke had gone into liquidation owing the bank a small fortune and bank was out for his blood……but I digress….

Easing out of the car the radio news is telling me a light plane has crashed into one of the trade centre towers (not that I knew very much about those buildings).

I think – oh well – some silly sod in a little plane lost his way, hit a building. Why do they fly silly little planes anyway? Get a life.

Walking into the kitchen I turn on the radio – in the minutes on leaving the car the news had become more serious. Turn on the TV. And what I saw has been etched into my memory.

My mate Mark is painting my house that week and so he and me sit and watch the news together for the next hour or two – both incredulous as to what we are seeing. Saying things like – “Bloody hell…..” and “ I can't believe this….” Too shocked to utter anything profound or meaningful.

We are actually watching as the second tower folds like a concertina. Over in seconds: smoke, and billowing dust.

I phone Mrs P – who is at a friend’s house ¼ mile away and tell her to watch the news.

And that’s what I was doing. Mundane – but as alive in my mind now as it was then.

The TV has been filled this week with stories and documentaries about 9/11 (in the UK we would say 11/9) and the suffering of the folks then and now. And I feel very sad about all of this.

It was a very major event in terms of the immediate spectacle, the subsequent turn of events and the effect on the American Psyche. In the UK we have had terrorism and God knows what for many years; the IRA bombed our arses off for decades and ironically the Americans (not all of them) supported the Republican terrorists with finance.

In fact - I came close to having an Irish bomb blow underneath me - but had left the building before the fire bomb exploded. BOOM.

We Brits also got bombed to bits in the 2nd World War – so collectively the British know what it’s like to face onslaught. The Americans were never bombed in WW2 and so 9/11 was unique - like waking from a dream.

Now our trans-atlantic cousins have that terrible knowledge; ending the Age of Innocence.