Ten years ago today I went to visit my grandfather who was watching the cycling on tv. He always used to joke that when I came in and the cycling was on, that he couldn’t keep my company that long. You see, I don’t like to look at the cycling…
This day though was different. We’re talking a bit, he’s watching tv in between and all of a sudden a breaking newsflash comes on telling a plane has flown into the WTC, describing it as a terrible accident with more updates to come. And then the cycling again. Deep inside though, my intuition was telling me this was no accident and I left my granddad and went home to put on CNN and the BBC to see what was going on.
And then of course the unbelievable, unthinkable thing happened and I saw the second plane push itself into the second tower, live on tv. My mouth dropped open and I couldn’t believe my eyes.
As soon as the airspace was reopened, I was on a flight into NYC. By then the big clean up started and all around you saw the big trucks drive on and off and people along the road supporting and cheering them on, thanking them for their help and support. Ground Zero itself was closed off completely, but when you went below 14th Street, the burnt smell in the air was still palpable. All around the city the American flag hang proudly waving in the air. People asking how other were doing and hoping they hadn’t lost any loved ones or friends. The solidarity in the city was huge!
But the thing that really touched me and got to me was the countless walls filled with paper photographs of families looking for their loved ones lost in the WTC. Young, old, man, woman, husband, mother, sister, brother, daughter or son. Faces looking at you and below their picture a pleading search message by their family. One after another in various locations in the city. I could feel the desperation coming off the pages and it just made you want to cry.