I read Clive’s ‘Take it Easy‘ blog today regarding 9/11 and yes, I agree that we can all remember where we were on that awful day when so many loved ones never returned home from work.
For me in the UK it was already early afternoon when I heard the news. I had just finished work, and had started up my car to drive to my youngest son’s school to pick him up. I turned on the radio and had to pull over in a layby to listen to the newsreader as I was so distracted. My husband Sam was at that moment in mid-flight to Cleveland, Ohio and here was the devastating news that two planes had crashed into the Twin Towers and that all American air space was now closed.
It was hard trying to remain positive, especially as our two sons were visibly upset at their father’s sudden disappearance. However, it wasn’t until the evening of the following day that Sam managed to contact me (he did not have a mobile phone at the time). His plane, along with 27 other jumbo jets, had been one of the first to land at the tiny airport of St. Johns in Newfoundland. Just one man had been on duty at the time to direct the planes, and all around there seemed to be organised chaos as planes flew in from all directions. Sam had to remain on board with all the other passengers for quite a few hours, and of course they were all desperate to know what had happened. The pilot and crew must have known, but kept the news from the passengers for as long as they could.
After several hours, many buses then arrived at the airport to take all the hundreds of passengers to a stadium, where the Red Cross gave them sandwiches and drinks. They were then taken to hotels all over the town and put up free of charge. The phone call he had made to me that evening was also free of charge, thanks to the local telephone company. Any subsequent phone calls were free too.
Sam remained in St. John’s for over a week, sharing a hotel room with another guy until the air space re-opened. His room mate had a mobile phone and let Sam use it to phone me. Sam will always have praise for the way he was treated at that time. He made many friends during that week, and they corresponded for some time afterwards.
I would like to visit the 9/11 Memorial Garden in New York one day, but at this precise moment I don’t know if that will ever be a possibility. I can’t imagine ever wanting to travel on a plane again, but who knows, maybe I’ll renew my passport when the terror threats and the pandemic eventually pass.
Where were you on 9/11?