Where were you eight years ago today?
On possibly the most significant date in recent history, most of us can remember where we were when the Twin Towers in New York came under attack and were destroyed, with such a huge loss of life. I remember I was in Cardiff, shopping for a present for a friend who was feeling a bit down. I remember the shop assistants listening to radio news while I paid for my purchases. I remember wondering what was going on, but being too shy to ask the people in the shop. I remember feeling an unexplainable overwhelming desire to get home to be with my husband, and seeing the headlines printed on newspaper boards by the newspaper kiosks. I remember reading the special supplement of the South Wales Echo on the bus on the way home, because I felt as if I couldn’t wait to get home and watch the news on the television. I remember the shock on my husband’s face as we watched BBC News 24. I remember the confusion and disbelief on the television news as the updates came in, claiming that the first tower had collapsed. I remember holding my five month old baby and crying as I thought of all those hundreds of people who wouldn’t be going home to their families that night. I remember the feeling of guilty relief I experienced because I didn’t know anyone who would have been hurt or killed. And I remember the subsequent panic as the western world braced itself for further attacks.
Of course, we have been braced for further terrorist attacks ever since, with increased security almost everywhere. And yet, as my parents pointed out (having just come back from a holiday where they travelled to several countries), most people in pretty much every country round the world just want peace. They want to live their lives, bring up their families and look forward to the future. And yet so many live in fear.
Has the fear increased since 9/11? I don’t know. Maybe it has just brought it into sharper focus.