I was floating around on a ferry in the middle of Lake Como in Italy when I heard about the WTC disaster.
I’m an Australian, and I was on holidays in Italy and had only just arrived days before. My sister sent my mobile phone an SMS saying that planes had hit the Towers and possibly thousands of people had been killed. I dismissed it at first as a joke, but when buying tickets on the bus back to the hotel, I saw the news reports replaying the collision.
Right there I felt very scared and wondered about the people back home. I was in a foreign country and finding english-speaking news reports or newspapers was impossible. Everywhere I went, USAToday was sold out. So many people assumed I was an American and apologised for the trouble. The amount of sympathy for the citizens of the US who perished in the disaster (as well as the loved ones left behind to deal with the grief) was phenomenal. I am proud to say that the Italian people were so supportive.
It really hit home for me how serious this all was when I left Italy to go home a few weeks later. The difference in security at the airport was amazing.. only 2 weeks prior, you could wander in and out of stores without a problem. 2 weeks after the disaster, there were soldiers wandering around with machine guns.
Sept 11 also marks the day that our family found out my mother has cancer… so in a way, I’ll never forget that day, even if it wasn’t for the whole world mourning.