I will never forget the moment or what came after

by Anna Blanch on September 11, 2011

I will never forget the moment or what came after.

The details seen pedestrian. But, the detail with which you remember the moments of great significance in our lives are often telling.

I was in the lounge room of a sharehouse in the Canberra suburb of Page. I was watching an episode of West Wing on channel seven around 9pm when CNN broke through with a report of (what we know now to be) the first plane crashing into one of the towers. I watched live as the second plane flew toward the twin towers. It was a destabilising moment.

I remember thinking: this could be world war three. This could be really bad. I realised the immediacy of 24 hour news coverage and the horrifying nature of images without full context. This could be even worse than it seems.

And it was bad.

I didn’t move. I couldn’t. I watched the events of the next three or four hours as all Australian television was taken over by whatever american channel they had some kind of relationship with or the international branch. It was marked by american accents. Yet, for an event that took place in a city and the states surrounding the city, I felt it’s pull from the other side of the world.

I slept little. I wasn’t long out of the Army. I pondered what this could mean for my friends.
Those who serve.

I thought of friends in New York. I woke for an early law school class – wanting, needing to be with other people. It was international law, strangely enough. When I arrived, I found that class had been cancelled. There were faculty and students trying to contact family in New York. There was a vapour of uncertainty hanging in the air.

The grief I knew, the uncertainty, the unspoken fears are all real; but, it pales in comparison to those in the vicinity. Those whose family, friends, colleagues, loved ones would never come home again. The first responders. Those who have found their lives changed incontrovertibly. The moments of sheer bravery, of courage despite facing death.

The world has changed utterly.

Today is 10 years.

I will never forget the moment or what came after.


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