#1591 | Saturday, August 24th 2002
I was in Ellicottville, NY, on 9-11. Thats not unusual for most, but it was for me. I come from Auckland, New Zealand and i was staying there on student exchange. I still remember sitting in class, glued to CNN with about 40 other kids. I can remember what i was wearing, and what i had for lunch. Those are the kind of stupid details that i guess i'll remember always. Boundaries were broken between kids and teachers, and friendships were cemented forever. We will never forget.
Alison | 18 | New Zealand

#1466 | Friday, July 12th 2002
Being in New Zealand, I was fast asleep at the time. My Dad came into my room a little after 6am, "America's been attacked". At first, in my dazed state, it didn't register. I got out of bed and went out to watch what was happening on TV.
Complete shock. I immediately assumed I was witnessing the beginning of World War III. We all sat around the TV silently cursing before realising we had to get out of the house and go to work/school.
It seemed nobody was unaware of the morning's events. I can't remember a class I went to where we actually worked. The majority of the time, we sat glued to the TV, watching and re-watching what had happened. Talking. I don't think any of us had ever heard the name Osama bin Laden, so our History lesson was spent trying to discover him; what he stood for, etc.

Over the following weeks our television and newspapers were filled with images and reports, also personal accounts including those that had lost loved ones.
Last week at the library I picked up a book 'Tribute to the WTC'. It was amazing to see the building of the two towers - so much work, material, time gone into their making.. so strong-looking.

I do hope they will re-build the towers. I quite liked Brad Pitt's idea of having a see-through part on each tower where they were hit (even though that would probably be somewhat eerie).

Lana | 17 | New Zealand

#1464 | Thursday, July 11th 2002
Due to time differences the events of September 11 actually occured on September 12 in New Zealand. That morning I woke at 6am to the blaring of my radio alarm clock. Through the "BEEP BEEP" I could distinctly hear the voice of an announcer utter the words "World Trade" *BEEP* "destroyed." Being something of a skyscraper fan I immediately knew that this was an absolute catastrophe, but I couldn't quite comprehend what it meant or would look like. So, I rushed into the living room and turned on the TV. At that moment it was showing the smoke rising from the Pentagon (this was 6 hours after the first plane struck). As I didn't realise that had also been a target I assumed I was looking at a picture of the New York skyline. For a few seconds I thought that New York had been flattened by a nuclear explosion. It was only when I saw the startling images of the second plane flying into the tower that I pieced together what had happened.
I had to get ready for work, and being a teacher it's a little difficult to pull a sickie at such short notice. All I wanted to do was sit there and stare at those images and find out more of what had happened.
Driving to school I picked up a paper which already ran the headline "US UNDER ATTACK."
I arrived at school and went to the morning staff meeting. Everyone was in a somber mood and the Principal advised us not to talk too much about it lest the students get upset. One teacher hadn't heard the news and went into a state of shock (she was an American).

However, I knew that this would be all we talked about that day. Some of my students didn't know about the attacks either so we all sat around and I explained what had happened. Even though none of them had really heard of the Twin Towers (they were mainly 11 year olds) they could fully comprehend the magnitude of the tragedy and empathised with all those who lives were affected by it.

Paul | 26 | New Zealand

#1151 | Wednesday, April 3rd 2002
My partner and I were on holiday in Italy and had just arrived in Florence that morning, I think there is about six hours time difference between Italy and NY. We were looking to buy some English books as we had read all ours on the train. We finally found a bookshop called Edisons in the afternoon and they had two huge televisions screens which were showing live feeds but only with Italian subtitles - the only words we could recognise were Casa Bianca (White House), Pentagon and terrorist but the pictures were telling the story. We watched the second plane hit the tower live. The TV audio was only available through headphones upstairs, and there was so many people queued for the English translation. Some people were relaying what they were hearing in English back to those people waiting.

There were so many Americans in that store, and they were watching, some crying, some speechless. At one stage I remember an American beside me watching and saying that normally you couldn't see the building that was on TV because the towers were in the way. Then another American arrived who translated the subtitles into English for the group of about 20-30 people that had gathered.

Finding any news out in the next few days was really hard, all the English newspapers would sell out and the internet cafes were packed with people logging on to CNN for updates. We did still get to NY exactly two weeks after the attacks and went to Ground Zero to pay our respects.

Jenny | 31 | New Zealand

#637 | Thursday, January 17th 2002
16th January 2002

My name is Emily Charlton and I am from New Zealand. I think that it is great to have somewhere to express how the selfish and cowardly actions of September 11th 2001 impacted on me.

Early that morning, my partner and I had gone into town to take my grand daughter to school and decided to eat in town while we were in. We walked into the CafĂ© and were greeted by the owner who jokingly asked if we had any bombs on us. We responded with “not today I’m afraid, we’re just in for breakfast”. He went on to say that he had brought his television in so he could keep up with the tragedy of the World Trade buildings in New York. We both glanced up to the TV and saw the news bulletins showing shots of the aeroplanes flying directly into the towers.

In the first instance, I thought ‘Wow, that is great camera work, what film is this?’ The owner then proceeded to explain that this was no film, it was real. Overwhelmed with emotions of horror, bewilderment, despair and non-belief I found myself wide mouthed but speechless. As we talked at one another, my mind raced with questions, my heart immediately left me as I realised the people who would be affected. I could hold my screams but not my tears as I saw the destruction of the buildings and the fear on the faces of the people in the streets.

As we sat and watched through the day I felt so helpless being so far away and not being able to help. For the days, weeks and months that have followed and I’m sure for always, this has made an imprint deep in my soul.

I have pity for those responsible and can only say that the God I know and love is not the same God whom they love. God gives the breath of life and does not think kindly to those who take life.
These lines are all I will accord to the offenders, as I will not waste my time on such a cowardly act.

I give my thoughts and prayers to those folk who have lost family and/or friends through this disaster. Being so far away, I cannot offer my physical help but can express my profound empathy for the people of New York and indeed America.

Emily Charlton

Emily | 48 | New Zealand

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