The first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 13:46 GMT, so I was still at school. I had just started fourth class and thought I was pretty grown up, little did I know. At 14:03 Irish time the second plane hit the South Tower. At 14:49 GMT the South Tower collapse (and it would be long until the North Tower followed suit). This brings us to three o’ clock, when school ended for me back then. Now as far as I know I didn’t hear anything about what was happening in the US until I got home and turned on the television in our living room. My memories of that day are unclear at best. Apparently, I was the one who alerted my family to what was happening. My sister recently told me that on that day I was ”freaking out” though I have no recollection of being like this. I was familiar with the Twin Towers as I would see them in almost every episode of Friends, and I would hear of the Pentagon and see it on tv occasionally too.
Just before or after the One World Trade Center collapsed (or perhaps just before) my mother told us to join hands. We kneeled down in the living room and she said to pray for ”those poor people in New York”. As a nine year old, I did not come close to realizing the implications of what had happened. I remember our teacher discussing it at school the next day in detail, and discussing it with friends there too. That Friday I remember going to a memorial Mass at a local church and having to sit or stand at the very back as it was so crowded.
Some other images that stick in my mind from that day are the people who fell to their deaths, the smoke billowing from the North Tower and the smoke/ash/debris cloud filling the streets of Lower Manhattan so quickly.
My father was at work at the time and thought it was a movie at first when he saw the news. I remember how my brother still did homework that day, and how the news was repeated on RTÉ over and over again, with no regular programming broadcast, apart from the Six One news etc of course.
So it’s nine years later and I still can’t stop thinking about that tragic day (although the word ‘tragic doesn’t begin to describe it; there are no words).