Remembering September 11

By Tracey Arial

Twelve years ago today, 2,983 people from 77 different countries died after four planes crashed. These crashes were no accident.

I remember the day well. My parents were driving from Orangeville where they lived then to Montreal. Sitting at my computer working hard to finish several stories before they arrived meant that I didn’t know what was happening until two of the three crashes were over.

I missed the news of American Airlines Flight 11 crashing into the North Tower at the World Trade Centre in New York at 8:46 a.m. Nor was I aware of United Airlines Flight 175 striking the South Tower 17 minutes later. The North Tower fell fifty-six minutes later and American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon in Washington an hour later, but I was oblivious.

My television went on just before United Flight 93 hit the ground near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Later, my mom said she heard the plane was shot down on the radio seconds after it happened, but that news bulletin never got repeated.

I joined the world in shock and fear as the North Tower collapsed at 10:28 a.m. That evening, we called families of friends who lived in New York to make sure they were okay. In my case they were, but not everyone was so lucky.

My world hasn’t been the same since. Those of us who live in North America joined the rest of the world in recognizing that terrorists can strike close to home. It’s no longer possible to get on a plane without thinking about who sits nearby. Idiosyncratic neighbours are no longer so easily tolerated, especially if they seem at all violent. Other victims of terror, like the 329 people who died after the bombing of Air India Flight 182, are better remembered too.

We no longer feel secure from the actions of too many terrorists.

Note: Thanks to the website for the photo above.

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