September 11th – remembering that day

by Gillian Pritchett on September 11, 2010

I was living in Toronto. As I got ready to go to the dentist I heard on the news that a plane has crashed into the World Trade Centre in New York. Then the news announced that another plane has crashed. I remember thinking that the US was not having a lot of luck with it’s planes that day. I naively assumed that a light aircraft had hit the WTC and a helicopter had landed badly at the Pentagon. Never in my wildest imaginings could I have  imagined what I was about to find out.

I walked out of home into a city of blue skies and sunshine. I love Toronto. I was carefree. Life seemed good. I took the tram to go down to King Street West for my dental appointment – two crowns were to be fitted. We were to only fit one – in three hours. When I got to the dentists I discovered what was really happening in the US. My dentist, her assistant and I listened intently to the news. This was why only one crown got fitted. We spent time in silence. We cried. When I left we hugged each other, crying, saying that for the rest of our lives we would always remember who we were with when the towers came down.

I walked out into the street – the sky was still blue and the sun was still shining but the world was grey and scary and I was cold. The down town core of Toronto was empty – offices had been closed, staff sent home. All flights were grounded. Air space closed except for emergency flights from New York. The hospitals in Toronto had cancelled all elective surgeries in order to treat the wounded from New York. No wounded came – everyone had died or… miraculously… survived.  No-one knew what was going on, why planes were crashing , who or what was targeted.

Once back home I switched on the TV – the images were of the WTC towers were falling, people jumping, people running. Those images were engraved on my brain – they were all I would see night after night for a very long time.

A few years later I met a guy on the coach from London Heathrow to Woking – we were getting the same train to the West Country and we started talking. He lost all his colleagues in the WTC on 9/11.

I’ve since been to Ground Zero and looked at the names of those who lost their lives – people that left behind them family and friends, young children who  never really knew their fathers.

This post is to their memory, to the courageous passengers and crew of flight 93 and to their friends and families who have had to find the courage to carry on and live with the memory of the horrific events of September 11th 2001.

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