The world stopped to draw breath.
Seamus Waldron, Tuesday, September 11th, 2001
This fall Bostonian morning started like any other, walking to the office with a bagel and coffee in hand. The sky was blue, the trees were hinting at change and the summer heat would soon fade. Then, the world changed...
The war of independence was a turning point toward modern history and it started with a single shot whose repercussions were heard around the word. By the time I left the elevator on the 18th floor, I already had heard. Seconds later, CNN and the BBC told me, and showed me, that this was not some shot fired from a musket, but orders of magnitude greater, a modern day Hiroshima, with consequences that will change the world we live in.
Working in the centre of London for five years had prepared me for the shock, the paralysis, the disbelief, but nothing on earth could have prepared anybody for the shear magnitude of the events that were unfurling.
Blink, an aircraft enters stage right, boom, a fireball erupts from the left side of the World Trade Center. Can this be real? Is this one of those modern day Hollywood movies? Smoke and flame engulf the twin towers, the president speaks and even before he finishes the Pentagon is hit.
Evacuation, all government employees are told to go home. We are told to go home. My bagel is untouched, my coffee is cold. I cannot move. On the TV, as though time has slowed, one of the towers shudders and is engulfed by dust. "Did it fall? Did it fall? It can't have. Oh, this is awful. What about the police, the firefighters, the medics?". On the news we hear garbled reporting; "What was that? One side of the tower has
"No, the whole building has. It's gone"
Time returns to normal speed, I decide to get another coffee but never make it. The second tower falls. The radio antenna falls down and inwards towards the rising smoke and debris. What stood as a sign of independence and freedom to the world has been torn down in just one hour.
We hear that a plane has crashed in Pennsylvania and that a bomb has exploded outside the State building in Washington.
It is now time to get out. Boston, where I am, is a small and relatively quiet city. It was once remembered as the start of the American revolution, that place that shot was fired from, it will now be remembered as the place where two aircraft were high-jacked and used to fire a new shot that was heard around the world.