Friday, September 9, 2011

Where were you on Sept 11th 2001?

Julia and I were in England. England is 5 hours ahead of the east coast of the US.

We had gone to the Waitrose supermarket in Waterlooville, a small town about 5 miles from my parents house. The four of us shopped for a while and had lunch. My parents left and drove home at about 1.00pm (Remember England is 5 hours ahead of the east coast of the US.) Julia and I continued shopping and then drove home just after 2.00. We talked on the way home, so did not turn on the radio. I turned our car into the driveway of my parents little brick bungalow and turned off the engine. My father, who was 82 years old came running out shouting "Have you heard? Do you have the radio on?" Not knowing what he was talking about we said "No, what happened?" He said, "America has been attacked."

We`all rushed in and watched the nightmare unfold on their TV. I remember saying, "The world will never be the same again."

The phone rang, it was our daughter Sarah calling from the USA. We were all watching it on TV when the second plane hit. Sarah was screaming. Julia tried to calm her down, and said, "Make yourself a cup of tea." I remember she said that several times. Then the first tower collapsed. Sarah was crying and shouting. We were all dazed and did not know what to do. We stayed in front of the TV for hours. We were supposed to go down to our little cottage in Litton Cheyney that afternoon - we had been shopping for food supplies etc to take with us - but that had to be cancelled.

We left the next day, or two days later, I'm not sure.

Much of our time at Chimney Sweep Cottage was spent in front of the TV.

Air service was interrupted. All flights in the US were ordered to land at the closest airport. People were stranded hundreds of miles from their homes for a week or more. Planes carrying Americans landed at small airports in Canada where they were put up by local citizens. Some became friends for life - they lived with their hosts for up to a week. Many people spent days sleeping in airports. Some got rental cars and drove home, but cars were hard to find.

One person who slept in an airport was Sarah's first husband Aaron, he had taken off from Boston at almost the same time as one of the planes that had flown into one of the Towers. He spent several days sleeping at Chicago airport, until he was finally able to get a rental car and drive back to Reno, Nevada and his home.

Washington D.C. where Sarah's second husband Roy worked, was attacked of course by a plane that flew into the Pentagon. Apparently there were many rumors of attacks elsewhere in D.C. that proved false. Suspicious vehicles were reported everywhere.
In fact another plane that was heading for D.C. was brought down by the passengers. They received the news of the attacks on the Towers on their cell phones. They got together and organised an attack on the terrorists. One leader was heard to say on his cell phone which he left on while talking to his wife, "Let's roll." The plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. It was headed for DC so they undoubtedly saved lives. It could have been headed for the White House or the Capital or somewhere else, we will never know.

Schools were closed, so Sarah had to go and pick up our grandchildren. We were in England so we didn't get to experience the reaction here.

A day that I will never forget for as long as I live. Just like virtually every one else in the world.

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