#1678 | Friday, September 6th 2002
I remember so clearly where I was. I was on Holiday in New York City with my parents. They had arrived from Australia 2 days earlier. It was supposed to have been the holiday of a lifetime for both of them, especially my father who had wanted to see the Yankees play at Yankee Stadium for at least as long as I can remember. When we woke up on that Tuesday morning, we were so excited because we were going to have a full day of sight seeing before going to see the Yankees that night. We went to breakfast. It was a beautiful day. We walked out from breakfast at 8.45am and were on our way to the Subway to head down town to see the world famous Twin Towers. It was then we were told that a plane had crashed into the side of a building. At that point, we had no idea which building. Someone had pulled over to the side of the road on Broadway and had their radio on which was the first point we realised it was one of the towers. We looked downtown and just saw black smoke billowing skywards.

There was no way it could be real. It had to have been an accident. We went into Macy's to see if there was any more information.....then it happened. The second tower. Everyone around us at that point in time just stopped and looked at each other. We were under attack and had no idea what the hell was happening. Myself and my parents decided we would be better off getting out of everyone's way and going back to our hotel. When we walked out back onto Broadway, the single most sorowful sight I am every likely to witness was in front of me. 100's of people crying, trying to call loved ones on cell phones, pay phones. We went back to the hotel and turned on the television. We had the window open and I had to close it when i realised that what I could smell was burning buildings. We watched on television as the first tower came down......and I could hear the rumble outside. It was the most sureal and terrifying moment of my short life......and then the second tower came down.

We had no idea what to do. We stayed in the hotel for a few hours, pretty much speachless and glued to the television. We eventually went outside and the streets were desserted. Everything was closed. The only noise came from the emergency vehicles flying down Broadway toward Ground Zero.

The next day, we awoke again to another beautiful day, yet the world was a completely different place. There was a huge sense of unease because personally, I still didn't know what was going to happen next.

That night, we had just walked around for a while, when we came across the fire house on W31st street. What I saw, changed my life. Fire trucks that were covered in soot and ash, with pictures of fallen firefighters and flowers all over it. The top of the truck was almost caved in. How they got it back there I'll never know. Then on the side of the street, a lone fireman was sitting, just staring at the sidewalk. I could not even begin to fathom what he had seen or encountered at Ground Zero.

We walked back to our hotel after we had dinner and a a few drinks. I went to go to a store on 5th avenue with my mum when we saw that they had the Empire State Building area taped off. Our hotel was right by it. They said it was just a precautionary method because it was an obvious target. We went back to the hotel and decided to err on the side of caution. We packed a few essential things like wallets, a change of clothes and passports. We didn't expect anything to happen but we thought it better to be prepared. That night, I had so much trouble getting to sleep. I was terrified. It turns out, I had every reason to be scared. Not 5 minutes after thinking this, the emergency system in our hotel was sounded and we had to evacuate the building immediately. I have never changed clothes so fast in my life! We were on the top floor of our hotel and, even though it was only 9 stories, the staircase was spiralled so it was very difficult to know exactly what floor we were on. At one point, I lost sight of both my parents. I was screaming out to them and they were telling me to keep going but there was no way I was leaving without them. People kept streaming by me but it seemed like forever before I saw my parents again.

When we got to the foyer, we all poured out onto the street, where there were police officers and firefighters telling us to keep running and head downtown. We had heard that there was a package in the Empire State Building. At the time we were running down the stairs, all I could think about was those people trying to escape out of the towers. They had no idea what was about to happen and unfortunately, I got a taste of that. We were lucky though. The Empire State Building didn't blow up. It was a false alarm.

Standing out on the street, I thought I could smell something burning nearby. What I was smelling was the World Trade Centre. The wind had changed direction and was blowing the smoke uptown. That is the one thing that is so unbelievably difficult to get out of my senses.

My parents never did get to see that baseball game. It didn't matter. Nothing else mattered. But when they got on their flight 4 days after the attacks, I was so scared. They were flying to Vancouver and I didn't rest until they called me to tell me they were ok. I was still in New York because unlike my parents, I couldn't get on my flight home for a week.

What I saw and experienced during that week will stay with me forever. The amazing generosity of the people in New York touched me. I had people be so kind to me. I was a foreigner and alone at that point. They took me in and looked after me. I remember the day before I was due to fly back home. I hadn't really eaten for about 2 days because the thought of eating just made me want to be sick. Needless to say, I was a little confused. I found myself back at that firehouse on W31st street. I asked one of the firemen who I could give money to. I couldn't give blood or anything like that so giving money was my only option. It was then that I just broke down in tears. These 2 firemen just hugged me, got me a drink and took me into their station. They asked me how long it had been since I'd eaten and then they proceeded to bring out a mountain of food that had been given to them.

I remember I felt like such an idiot and a burden. Here were these amazing men, who'd been witness to the most horrific of circumstances and lost some of their own brothers in the attacks, yet, they were talking to me, asking me about where I came from what I did for a living etc....and they still had a sense of humour! I told them how stupid I felt and that they had bigger things to be worried about than some tourist who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. They told me the only stupid thing about it was me thinking it was stupid!

I arrived home with mixed emotions. It was like re-entering a completely different universe.

I've been back to New York since then. I lived in the US for 6 months and went back to New York on several occassions. That is a city with amazing guts and courage and conviction. They will not lie down. The world can learn a thing or two from New Yorkers. I read somewhere that a New Yorker had made the comment "We're New Yorkers. We don't know how to be victims". I can't think of a better way to put it.

I love you New York. You've changed my life forever and there will always be part of me with you.

I know this is long but, this is the first time I've sat down to write about it. Thanks to all of you who took the time to read it.

Trina | 27 | Australia

#1661 | Wednesday, September 4th 2002
Almost 1 year on and I still remember everything so clearly. It was night over here and I was watching the news when they had a news flash that a plane had crashed in to the WTC. Quickly flicking over to CNN on cable I watched the first tower burn, it wasnt real, I was there, in NYC not that long ago. I shook my head and stayed glued to the TV. Out of the right hand part of the telivision came into view another plane. "Gee that other planes flying low" I said to my mother & grandmother. As it disappered behind WTC 1 there was an explosion. Everyone on CNN claimed it was fuselage from the first plane and then screams from many people on the TV that another plane had gone into WTC 2. I continued to watch through the pentagon crash, flight 93 and the collapse of both buildings. At work the next day no work was done as we all sat around the tv's and watched it all day. 1 year on and the images are still haunting and surreal.
Amy | 23 | Australia

#1621 | Friday, August 30th 2002
Some things just happen in our lives. They impact on us and we mourn them. But nothing will ever impact more on our lives and our hearts than that fateful, unexpected occurrence, in New York City, on the dark morning of September 11th.
The whole world stopped in its tracks and simply asked, Why? So many innocent peoples lives were taken from them that morning and I don’t think the world will ever forgive those involved in creating this horror. History had been changed at the hands of pure evil. If evil had a perfect definition, they would be it! Nothing will ever be the same.
But the world stands strong. We are all very powerful in showing how much we care. On September 11th, we may cry. But those tears tell a thousand words that we can never even try to describe verbally. They will be tears to remember the lives lost, the families of these people, and the brave people that risked their own lives by rushing to ground zero, to help others. Our hearts go out to you all.
Let us, as a nation, join the rest of the world, in helping to create more peace. Let good over power the strength of evil. Let us join and remember that morning of September 11th.

KATE ROSELER | 22 | Australia

#1616 | Thursday, August 29th 2002
britney spears was doing a promotional tour of sydney, which is where i live. i was with my friend carla all day, sitting outside her hotel, waiting for her to come out. we went to a nearby gift-shop to buy an ice-cream and picked up a newspaper, which had the headline and picture of the world trade center.

i wasn't aware of the extent of the damage, so it didn't affect me that much.

we stayed the night at the hotel and every tv channel had live news coverage.

it didn't really hit me, until i read an article in 'rolling stone' about the families of people lost during the attack.

and that made it real to me.
knowing that the people i love, could be living just any other normal day & never be returned to me.

i'm now trying not to say goodbye to anyone, whilst being upset with them
and i tell my friends&family that i love them on a regular basis.

i'm also scared.
i'm scared that there are actually people out there, that are capable of causing such terror and destruction.

cath | 19 | Australia

#1609 | Tuesday, August 27th 2002
I was asleep when it happened. When I woke up, I had an SMS from my best friend on my mobile phone, telling that America was under attack. The first thing I did was turn on the TV. The second thing I did was get online.

Every channel was broadcasting live, I had very little idea what had happened and was filled in by my online friends.

It was about then I started calling my friends in the US. Those who could were already online, but there were some I needed to speak to, even if they were nowhere near NY or DC.

The first few times I called, I couldn't get an international line (I live in Australia). By now, I was completely panicking. When I finally got through to someone, I was reassured that everyone there (South-Eastern Virginia) was fine, albeit a little shaken up.

Then I went outside and for the first time ever, smoked three cigarettes in a row.

It was a school day, but I didn't go. I knew there was no way I would be able to concentrate (and my English teacher, knowing I had previously lived in the US had informed all my other teachers I probably wouldn't be in).

One by one, I managed to get in contact with all of my American friends. Slowly, I was able to relax slightly.

That didn't last.

Once I was certain my people were safe, my thoughts turned to the friends and family of other people. How many wives wouldn't see their husband again? How many children would grow up, not knowing their father, knowing only that he died for the twisted political views of a terrorist.

First, I was sad. I spent many hours crying. Crying for the loss of life, the loss of safety and for the loss of innocence.

Then came anger. I wanted those responsible to be found and I wanted them to be punished to the full extent of the law and then some.

Over time, it has become easier to remember what happened without being overcome by these two emotions. They are both still there, but they are no longer as powerful as before.

My father is flying from his Naval base on the other side of Australia to visit us. He's flying on September 11th. I am not the only one who has begged him to change his flight. This is probably the most lasting effect of the terrorist action against America.


Katie Marchant | 18 | Australia

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