As with most nights, I was on the garden swing teasing the neighbour’s cat and chatting with my mom.
My father who was traveling somewhere called to say there were multiple terrorist attacks happening in the US. His voice was strained and laced with fear. “Where?” I whispered. Different locations he said, all up north.
“Turn the TV on and stay calm. I’ll call you back” he said.
With panic stricken eyes I watched CNN while my mother quietly sobbed.
My brother had just moved to New York that week.
I remember shivering uncontrollably even though it was a warm night.
What my mother didnt know was that my boyfriend was in NY city that day too.
Unfortunately his mother knew and within minutes she called, terrified and inconsolable.
I had to put my own fears on hold that night as I desperately called people – most calls not even going through – trying to track down my brother, my boyfriend and other family living in and around NY.
Eventually we managed to count all our chickens safe and the attacks seemed to stop but the tragedy had only just begun to unfold for all the people who were not as lucky as we were.
Last year I visited the Ground Zero Memorial and was intrigued by this little room where you could go in an make a voice recording of where you were when the 9/11 attacks happened and how you felt.
When you really think about it, most of us have a memory of that night. The terror and magnitude of loss seemed to reverberate through the world regardless of your location, personal involvement and whatever your political views on America.
*Title from the Alan Jackson song for 9/11