“9/11” by Claire Garry, Dublin

September 11 October 26, 2011 02:18

topic: 9/11 medium: TEXT

as submitted for the “9/11” Open Call

I find it hard to believe that ten years have passed but for those who lost loved ones, I’m sure it has been a torturous, painfully slow decade to complete. I was in a similar, though smaller building about three thousand and twelve nautical miles away in Canary Wharf that day. The day started as any other but after lunch, everyone was talking, glued to the various online news networks watching as events unfolded. It was unbelievable but the pictures and the videos were there in front of us.

Speculation and rumours circulated, details changing every time the stories were recounted. I remember being told that a plane apparently from Amsterdam was coming straight for London. Some people were terrified and wanted to leave. Our company announced we could go immediately. I stayed a little longer finishing off some work. I couldn’t fathom anything happening here, didn’t feel that this London bound flight was real or a threat to me or to the city I lived in.

Looking at the news that night and the following days, it was hard to believe and accept the reality of the situation. Since that day, stories about the victims have been told and re-told. Recordings of passengers on those flights leaving their last messages for loved ones have been broadcast. For me, it is these personal stories that make this tragedy hardest to accept and understand.

Weeks later, we’d still chat about where we were when it happened, how we found out, and how we couldn’t really believe something so horrific and shocking could have really happened. Two colleagues who had been visiting New York at the time told of the confusion there. I heard their separate, similar stories of wandering around the city, lost, not sure where to go, everything thick with dust. Both seemed to handle the horror and the impact in their own individual ways.

What remains with me the most are the images of the people jumping from the towers. The inevitability of their future finalised seconds from their feet leaving the floor up high. I’d always thought they must have known there would be no great rescue for them at least and rather than accept the destiny that had been inflicted on them, they’d decided to take what control of their lives they still could. When watching a documentary recently I heard an expert explain a theory that the heat within the building had become so unbearable that they would not have been able to stand it any longer and would have been forced to jump. This saddens me even more. I wonder what I would have done in that situation, would I have been able to make that jump or would I have waited for the inevitable, and if I’d taken those doomed steps what would have gone through my mind on the way down?

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