11 September 2011

Ten Years On...

They say the world has changed over the last ten years, and I suppose it has, however my own world has changed much more.

I remember the afternoon of 11th September 2001 in vivid detail.  When the story broke I was working at a college, and was stuck in a tiny room photographing students (for their student ID cards) using an awful quality video camera capture system.  A colleague told me a plane had crashed into the tower.  My first vision was that of a small 2 seater plane crashing into the tower by accident and causing almost no damage.

The internet was a little bit broken, all I could get from the BBC site was a single line news story.  Towards the end of my shift I was told that one of the towers had fallen.  I felt numb.  I did no work for the last two hours of the day, just sat there in disbelief watching the telly.

New stories always seem more real when you’ve been to the place, and I’d done just that some years earlier.  The observation deck at the top of the tower had outdoor access, and you were able to walk around the very top of the tower.

I cycled the 5 miles home from work that evening in a daze, and sat in front of the telly all evening still not quite believing what I was seeing.

A week or so after I found myself at Heathrow airport taking a flight to Germany.  The flight was half empty, and everything was very subdued.

10 years ago I was in a dead end job that I hated, working with people that for the most part I had little or no respect for (and I believe the feeling was mutual).  I was getting myself into stupid debts that I had no idea how I’d ever repay by constantly booking holidays in far off places, just because I was so unhappy and had nothing else in my life.

10 years on and I’m in a much happier place.  I said goodbye to that hated job 4 years ago when I took redundancy, and made the leap into self employment.  I’m very nearly debt free now, quite a bit poorer, but oh so much happier!

One of my favourite Sting albums “...All This Time” was recorded live on the evening of 11th September 2001.  It was a small concert, just for friends of Sting, but you can almost here the emotion in the music.  The opening song, “Fragile” could have almost been written for the day.


If blood will flow when flesh and steel are one
Drying in the colour of the evening sun
Tomorrow's rain will wash the stains away
But something in our minds will always stay
Perhaps this final act was meant
To clinch a lifetime's argument
That nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could
For all those born beneath an angry star
Lest we forget how fragile we are

On and on the rain will fall
Like tears from a star like tears from a star
On and on the rain will say
How fragile we are how fragile we are

On and on the rain will fall
Like tears from a star like tears from a star
On and on the rain will say
How fragile we are how fragile we are
How fragile we are how fragile we are

NB.  A few words about the photos.  1st photo taken from Liberty Island, 2nd from the top of one of the towers, 3rd is a view looking north over Manhattan from the top of the tower, and the final two are taken around Ground Zero I believe a couple of years after the attacks.

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