“9/11 Ten years on: From the perspective of an Irish American living in Ireland” by Jane Burns, Meath

September 11 October 26, 2011 03:48

topic: 9/11 medium: TEXT

as submitted for the “9/11” Open Call

Diana Vega O'Connor

It is hard to believe that it is now ten years since the 9/11 attacks took place. The horror that occurred in my hometown of New York City haunts me still. I was here in my office in Dublin working away when a colleague told me that a plane had crashed into one of the twin towers. I found a television to see what was happening, expecting a air accident but never anticipating that I would tune into the channel to see the second plane hit.

The next few hours were a daze; I picked my children up from after school and drove home in complete silence. I couldn’t wait to get in the door to call my family and friends, to do a head count so to speak to reassure myself that all were ok. This type of tragedy happens to other people was the mantra echoing in my head.

Phone lines were down, emails were bouncing back the Internet was at a snails pace. Panic ensued. I could reach no one. I was so grateful when my husband walked in the door, our little family safe inside, 3,000 miles from the chaos.

I was glued to the television, I couldn’t stop watching, looking for clues, familiar faces anything to give some light. Finally, the phone rang, my brother called all my siblings and extended family were safe. Then my best friend called, I knew before she spoke there was something wrong. Our beautiful, smart, kind friend Diana Vega O’Connor was gone.

The boys I grew up with were the men running into the burning buildings saving who ever they could find. They wore both the proud uniforms of the NYPD and FDNY.

I remember wanting to get on a plane and go home, a bizarre reaction. I was here, safe but home was falling apart. I felt helpless.

Now ten years on, life has changed. A fear, an uncertainty, a vulnerability is here where it did not exist before.

The most tragic thing for me about 9/11 was loosing such a wonderful person in Diana. She left behind the love of her life, her husband Billy who still weeps for her every day and her daughter Amanda, who will never know the Angel who was her mother except through the memories of those who loved her and were lucky to share even a small part of their lives with her.

1 Comment

  • Suzanne Power

    What a powerful perspective. How many emigres feel the same. I watched the towers fall as I nursed my twin boys. Jane’s story reminds me of the shock I felt and the need to feel my family was safe and sound and home.