#1680 | Friday, September 6th 2002
I'm not an American, I don't live in America and (think Kyoto here), I don't always agree with the stance America takes. However, on that fateful day last September, now almost a year ago yet still indelibly etched into my memory, I felt about as American as I ever will. Along with hundreds of millions of others I reeled in the horror of what these brutal monsters had perpetrated. I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I first heard the news: I was sitting at my desk editing a piece of magazine. Like most people, I was doing something very unremarkable, but the point is, like most people, I remember exactly what it was, down to the smallest detail – I still have a vivid picture of what was going on around me and I can still replay the scene in my mind.
The memories of the rest of that evening (it was late afternoon for us here in the Netherlands when the news broke) will also stay with me for a long time to come. The long drive home with the BBC World Service a constant reminder that all this really had happened. I remember looking at other drivers – most of them grim-faced, staring ahead, ostensibly absorbed in the rush-hour traffic – and wondering whether the same things were also going through their minds. And greeting my wife when she returned from a fun day out with our son and our neighbors’ two young daughters, blissfully unaware that horrific events had taken place that day. Then the emotion that was released when I shared with her and the girls’ mother the realization that so many had perished and the sheer incomprehension that people could contemplate doing such a thing to so many other, innocent people. Of course, being so far away none of us knew any of these people. We had no personal reason to grieve; but we did all the same.
Disgust was another emotion. Disgust and shame that misguided young Moslem youths, here on the streets of Holland, could openly celebrate the loss of life they had been indoctrinated to believe was at odds with their own. But of course living in a free country, like Holland and the US, misguided as these individuals were, they had every right to do as they did.
Yes, I remember where I was and what I was doing when the tragic events of 9/11 first began to unfold. Mine is a quite unremarkable account of how it affected me and my immediate environment and as such it’s insignificant. But multiply my account by hundreds of millions of similar ones and perhaps it’s not quite so insignificant after all.


John Widen | 51 | Netherlands

#1553 | Friday, August 16th 2002
i was at my work in apeldoorn (the netherlands) and heard it by the radio
Erik | 20 | Netherlands

#1522 | Tuesday, August 6th 2002
I was actually sick that day and hanging in front of the TV... I was zapping right along and all of a sudden I was on CNN and saw that an airplane had flown into the WTC. I thought: that's pretty stupid, what a mistake... I kept watching it... My mom came home and then the second plane flew in... I shouted as loud as I ever did: "Holy Shit !!!" My mom came rushing down, my brother walked in from the garden and they saw the rerun... My dad came home from his work, saw the rerun and said: this is the work of terrorists, there's no other explanation.. I said: no, it has to be some kind of terrible accident, some radarinstallation at JFK must be alligned wrong or something like that.. Then a plane crashed into the Pentagon and another one crashed somewhere in Pennsylvania... I just sat there in shock... The first tower fell down and I felt cold shivers down my spine... I still have them whenever I think about it or see the images again.. Unfortunately, the dog needed to be walked, so I did that and when I came back, the second tower had collapsed... It was all we could talk about at the dinnertable and the next day at school we were hardly taught a thing. Everyone discussed, including the teachers... At one 'o clock in the afternoon, our break, the school anounced that everyone had to be silent for two minutes. We were the first school in the Netherlands to do that. It was terrible and I can assure you that this is a story I'll be telling my grandchildren....

By the way, I'm sorry if I messed up the sequence of events, but it was very hectic and I can't exactly remember what was first and what ended it... Sorry.

Jarno Miedema
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Jarno Miedema | 18 | Netherlands

#725 | Monday, February 4th 2002
I was working in an office in Amsterdam when I got an email from a friend in London telling me a plane had crashed into the twin towers in NY. I thought it was a prank email until I tried to log on to the BBC News website and couldn't because it was too busy. That's when I knew something really was going on. The next hour I recieved minute by minute updates via email. Didn't quite realize the full extent of what was going on until I got home and watched the news all evening.
Andrew Tope | 27 | Netherlands

#700 | Wednesday, January 30th 2002
I spent the early afternoon of September 11th shopping for gifts and I got back home around 3pm, right about the time of the first plane hitting the WTC. I turned on the television and wanted to watch some news on CNN and saw footage of the tower in flames. My first thought was that I had turned on some movie channel by mistake but quickly realised it was indeed CNN I was watching. Moments later, when I saw the second plane hit the other tower I realised at that moment that something was terribly wrong.

I knew instantly the world would never be the same again after that day. I watched in shock and disbelieve as the events unfolded on television, seeing the footage of the crashes again and again and watching the towers collapse, it was not real, it couldn't be real, but it was. I cried that day and the following days and I couldn't really focus on anything and it still is difficult sometimes to focus on everyday life.

As much as September 11th will always be in my memory, so will the following Friday when Europe and the world joined America in 3 minutes of silence. I have never seen life come to such a complete standstill and the images of that day were very moving. Not just my own country but the complete civilized world standing by our American friends in a time of need.

President Kennedy declared that as a free man he was a Berliner, after September 11th I join the many free men everywhere in proudly declaring "I am an American".

My thoughts go out to all those affected and especially to the heroes of the NYPD and FDNY and US flight 93.

Michael | 33 | Netherlands

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