Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where were you?


I always remember 9/11 with sadness, and I'm still in shock that this happened to our country. For me, it's a bit surreal because I wasn't actually IN the U.S. when it happened. I was in London on a study abroad semester in my junior year of college. I still remember like it was yesterday.

I had just left the Museum of London after a really nice morning just walking around and learning about the the fascinating new city I was now living in. I remember sitting quietly in the courtyard of the museum just enjoying my surroundings and not having a care in the world. I was alone, and I wasn't afraid at all. 

I left the museum after picking up a few presents for people back home and started walking toward the tube. Looking back, it seems like people were in a little more of a tizzy than normal for the streets of London, but I didn't seem to notice at the time. I got on the tube (or subway if you will) and began my short ride back to our flat. I remember looking across the seat from myself at a man reading the paper, and I remember seeing the twin towers on the front page. It looked like they were on fire, but I dismissed it as one of those Enquirer "end of the world" scenarios that trashy magazines use to scare people.

As I exited the stairs leading out of the tube I was stopped by an older woman in casual business clothes. She asked, "Are you American?". I was taught to answer this question hesitantly because people in foreign countries (even England) don't always take kindly to Americans. She looked fairly harmless, so I said, "Yes, I am." She quickly asked me if I knew about what had happened in the States and I said that I didn't. I quickly found the nearest newspaper stand (which is never far away on London streets) and read it for myself...two hijacked planes had flown into the World Trade Centers.

I learned later that there were two other planes, one that crashed into the Pentagon and one that crashed into a field because the passengers fought back.

There is no place like home when tragedy strikes, but I was so thankful to  be in the UK if I could not be in the U.S. when 9/11 happened. It felt, and still feels like a piece of home to me.

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