#790 | Tuesday, February 26th 2002
I was grocery shopping and got a text message on my cell phone..."turn on CNN WTC Twrs NY hit by planes". Here in text message-mad SE Asia you hear of the headlines on your cell phone before you turn on the TV. We're 12 hours ahead of US East Coast time, so it was after 9 in the evening. So I got home and all I could think about was how if Muslims did this, and if the Prophet Muhammad (I'm Muslim) had been alive he would have been disappointed. He would have asked "What happened to my followers? Why didn't they look at my example and never attack innocent civilians?" And I thought (selfishly, in retrospct) about how people would look at me suspiciously in the days to come because of my veil. And I thought about how, yes, the American government attacks Muslim civilians in Iraq and Palestine, but by not distinguishing between US civilians and US leaders who formulate foreign policy, the people who did this were stooping just as low as the US government who they claim to hate.
anon | 32 | Hong Kong

#704 | Thursday, January 31st 2002
I'm a 28yo Australian expat living in Hong Kong who was feeling very ill on the day of September 11.

I'd had the day off work due to tonsilitis and was dozing on the couch beside my boyfriend. I'm not a big watcher of TV so it wasn't until about 11pm local time (about an hour and a half after the first plane hit) when news of the attack first reached me. (My bf's friend called his mobile and urged us to switch on the TV as something BIG was happening in New York).

I switched the TV on and the first thing I saw was Tower 1 in a plume of smoke. The local HK station was repeat airing a US based FOX NEWS direct feed and the caption read: "America Under Attack".


My first thought was disbelief. In fact, if I can paraphrase my mind, I said something to myself like: "Huh? That can't be? That's a World Trade Tower- it's one of the tallest buildings in the world!".

Then, I'm almost ashamed to admit, I thought about the movie "The Towering Inferno" starring Paul Newman and how I'd loved that film as a teenager. This thought was followed by "OMG....it's for real!".

This was no Hollywood Blockbuster, as countless others had first imagined this to be.

Then, seconds later my thoughts were interrupted, when abruptly flashed across my TV screen came the replay of the 2nd plane striking Tower 2. The camera angle showed the plane veering in from the right side of the screen, disappearing behind the tower and then- BOOOOM- a massive fireball erupted from the left side of the tower.

My mind went blank. I couldn't comprehend what I just saw.

And then, a replay of the footage and a voice over explaining the image.

Oh My God....

My boyfriend and I held each other and stared in disbelief at the TV screen- desperately trying to comprehend what our senses had just seen.

Then- flashing across the screen- a body of a man- still in his business suit- falling from the tower. The camera shook, audio of spectators gasping from behind the camera could be heard.

The network cut suddenly to a Hong Kong newsreader apologising for the footage and explaining the difficulty of censoring such images during all the confusion.

I'll never forget that image- EVER. 2001- the year the entire world saw people die on LIVE television. Is this the end of Reality TV programming- the entertainment fad of the new millennium??

I called my Mum in Australia to be certain she was not missing this. It took a while to get through but I finally managed to get a line. I didn't even know why I was urged to call. I guess I was scared of the consequences of what had just happened. Could this be a new World War? I'd never seriously contemplated there would ever be one during my lifetime....and here I am, in Hong Kong- away from my family and friends. NO! NOT NOW!! Don't strand me here in a foreign country! Would it ever be safe to fly home again? Less than 10 minutes after I first learned of the disaster- I was already imagining this future!

I have to admit, I do have an over-active imagination. (Heck- I get paid to have one!) I have often thought about those poor souls trapped in the building. I work in a 40 story glass tower myself so the whole scenario is a little close to home, so to speak. I think would I have survived if I had worked in the WTC? Would I have been to work on time that day?

I know for sure that I was absent from work the day of September 11 due to illness. Had I worked in the WTC, I might probably have survived due to this. Besides, I can't resist a McDonald's hash brown on the way to the office so this rarely gets me in the office before 9am anyway....not that that's a comforting thought.

Although it may sound odd for me to imagine such things, the fact remains I do work in a glass tower and a day hasn't gone by since 911 that as I ride the elevator up to my 32nd office floor, I wonder if I may never be coming down.

My world has been changed forever, and I cannot begin to imagine the incredible depth of suffering, damage and despair it has done to the lives of those who lost loved ones. May their memories live forever.

These are my memories of September 11, 2001. Thanks for reading them.

Evan | 28 | Hong Kong

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