I wonder how many blogs written today will start with the words “ten years ago...”?
The events of 9/11 have been well chronicled over the past decade, but if I may, I would like to offer a few personal thoughts...
In 2001, I was working as an insurance broker and was on my way to a meeting when I heard the news that two planes had crashed into New York’s Twin Towers. As barely believable as it sounded, the television pictures I saw later in the day provided the truly shocking reality.
The individual stories that unfolded over the hours and days that followed were, in many cases, heart-wrenching. I tried to put myself in the position of those people at the moment of realisation that they were going to die and the effect on the loved ones that were left behind... but it was simply not possible to comprehend the emotion of loss on such a scale and in such shocking circumstances.
My lack of understanding extends to the religious extremism that would prompt any human being to destroy innocent lives – and that’s before you even consider the brutal and callous nature of the “plan” carried out by Al Qaeda. I think I read somewhere that the “reward” for those who sacrificed their own lives was the promise of some sort of eternal paradise... Now I’m not really very interested in or knowledgeable about religion; officially, I would class myself as “agnostic”and whilst I have certain beliefs, they are based on personal experience, not the interpretation of words in a book (and definitely not someone else’s interpretation...).
I’ve no doubt that these “terrorists” believed in their cause and their destiny absolutely... the cynic in me would suggest that the reality of their afterlife may not be quite as perfect as the brochure had suggested...
Politics is another subject I tend to shy away from and once again, I wouldn’t profess to understand the full extent of the reasons why we have committed to fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I look at the human side of these conflicts and the number of families whose lives have been devastated by the loss of a loved one... I’m not sure the wars – and by definition these deaths – can ever be completely justified and that must make the pain so much more difficult to bear for those who are left behind.
My son Chris has served in both countries; he was one of the “lucky” ones to return unscathed... but on a day when the spectre of religious fanaticism and terror will dominate the news, I simply want to stop for a moment to remember the “ordinary”people (the passengers on the planes, the occupants of the Twin Towers, their families, the emergency services...) whose lives changed forever that fateful Tuesday...
All my own work... almost.