Part One in a series about the September 11th 2001 attacks on WTC New York
I’ve been in New York USA since Wednesday 9th September. I’m here primarily to pay respects at ground zero on Friday 11th September.
For the last eight years, September 11th has been a deep day for me, and has been a tearful one too every year. But not this year. I haven’t cried at all, not even close.
September 11th 2001 changed me forever. Pre 911 I was focused on one thing, building wealth for MY family. I was a child of Thatcherism and had a step father who was a right wing Policeman, so life was simple, fuck everyone else, look after yourself. I was a Father at 19 so all I knew was that I was going to create a great, secure, family home and support “mine” as best I could. Truth is, I never felt fulfilled even though I was succesful and the life plan was going well.
I had a great business and two more sons ( Ayden (8) and Louis (nearly 1). Then… at around lunchtime on September 11th 2001 I went to collect Louis from Debbie, our childminder. As I got out the car (a very expensive car that said, hey look at me, I’m succesful) the radio said… “the twin towers are on fire”, being a Londoner, I thought about the Twin Towers at Wembley and quickly thought, they are demolishing Wembley, must be an insurance job (dark thoughts from the son of Policeman who trusts nobody).
As I got into Debbie’s she said “Louis is the front room”, and she went into the kitchen. I went into the front room, there was Louis on a play mat, the TV was on, The Twin Towers were on fire, except it was the twin towers in New York, crammed full of people, my god! I was in shock, Louis and Debbie oblivious. I called Debbie in, she looked, said oh no, and went about her business again. I stood frozen, and started to cry.
While I was standing in the safety of a house in London, people were trapped in a burning buildings 1000’s of feet up in the sky, that, to me, seemed impossible to escape from. I picked Louis up and drove home. Once home, I stared at TV news for close to 20 hours. I didnt sleep, my mind was in overdrive, i kept crying, and thinking how can this happen, WHY???, For fuck sake WHY??? Two things really hit me deep and made me cry, seeing the second plane hit and watching people on the TV jumping out of the building. Jumping to their deaths. A choice of death by landing or death by fire. Have you ever thought about it ? Would you have jumped or fried ? I try to believe I’m brave, I’m not sure I would have been brave enough to jump, I think there is enormous is grace in taking that decision. Please click the picture and read the Esquire article, it is phenomenal.