After a long night of hard work, I was going through my morning routine. As most people were getting ready to start their day, mine was about to end. I was sleepy, already wearing my pajamas, and I had just fed Poupine, my good old Persian cat.
I was getting into bed when I noticed a message waiting on my answering machine. I remember how I got annoyed. Everybody in my surroundings knew I worked the graveyard shift, and that I hated getting phone calls before normal people’s dinner time.
I got up anyway, and took the message. It was Mom, who requested that I called her ASAP. It wasn’t like her to leave such a mysterious message, so I called right away.
Don’t you know what just happened?
I didn’t understand what she was talking about… She was nervously talking about it being all over the news, but I had the habit of watching cartoons while I got ready to go to bed. So no, I didn’t know what was going on. Mom told be something had happened in New York, and that she didn’t know much for the moment, being at their business, and getting informations bit by bit on the radio.
I told her I’d check news on the TV and call her back.
I was living alone with my cat back then. In an insanely small apartment in the basement of a small building. I sat on my tiny couch, turned on the TV, and watched as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center burnt on the screen.
I was speechless.
The week before, I had made a quick roadtrip with my brother, that had taken us to Manhattan. We had no special will to see New York City, but it was on our way, and hey! Why not, right? I remember clearly asking my little brother what he wanted to see. He could have chosen so many places… The Statue of Liberty, Time Square, Central Park… But his choice had surprised me. He wanted to see the World Trade Center. Quite frankly, I didn’t even know what the place looked like, back then.
So just a couple of days prior, I was standing at the feet of the tall towers.
And now, they were in flames. I barely believed my eyes.
When the first tower went down, I cried. I felt the world as we had known it, was changing. I watched in horror, until the second tower crashed down. After that, there was no going to bed possible. I camped in front of the screen, fearing that the US would rush into fighting back.
I remember how every plane in North America got grounded, and how flights coming from Europe were re-directed to Atlantic Canada to prevent any other possible attack. It seemed so unreal to think about all these airplanes, condemned not to fly anymore, all at once.
I also recall how quickly firemen, policemen and other emergency workers from Quebec arranged to gather together and drive to New York to offer help. Borders didn’t mean anything to them.
I felt lost, bombed with all the information being forced down my throat minute after minute, but I just couldn’t turn the TV off.
A couple of weeks back, I saw a documentary that brought me back to this tragic day. 102 Minutes That Changed America is a montage of people like you and me, who caught what happened on September 11, from different parts of New York, in real time.
I found it really interesting and troubling. I thought some of you might want to see it. So here it is…