Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Ago Today -- The World Trade Center Attack. My Personal Memories

That Terrible Day -- We Can Never Forget
(Please note:   There will not be any more postings in this blog for the rest of today in memorial to those lost on September 11, 2001).

It is the tenth anniversary of September 11, The World Trade Center attacks. I remember this as the single most horrific day of my life up until that time. Seeing all those people die, and jump out of the building, and worrying about my relatives in New York was something I will never forget.  I remember just arriving home in London that morning.

On August 30, 2001 I took my first ocean voyage.  I took the old QE2, which is no longer in services,  from Southampton to New York/   Cunard was running a big sale-  you could take the QE2 to New York and get  airfare back for the price of airfare alone.  It was incredibly cheap for the value.  And sailing across the Atlantic was something I always wanted to do.

The QE2 Sails Into Manhattan Under the World Trade Center
So I decided to go.  One thing that happened is that I had the upgrade of upgrades. Cunard is the only cruiseline at sea that has classes on board their ships.  I was upgraded from the lowest class (Mauritania) to the highest class (Queen's Grill), which is luxury like I have never seen.  I think my travel  agent was best friends with someone and it was an inside job.

Queens Grill  was amazing, they gave me a huge room on the ship, and meals were served by four people assigned to the table - including this gorgeous tall German guy from Berlin whose entire job seemed to be to stand there look great in a uniform, smile, and put little rolls and things on your plate. We nicknamed him Marcus the chocolate boy. My fellow guests were quite wealthy (unlike myself), they bought really expensive wine and stuff that we drank, and I am still friendly with one of them, a German retired lady who I still speak to occasionally and have visited at her home near Dusseldorf.

Queens Grill class - Incredible Luxury on the Seas
We arrived on September 4 in New York at dawn, sailing by the Statue of Liberty. I visited my sister in Connecticut for a few nights, and saw the Producers with her family on Broadway with Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane- a friend of hers was able to get some box seats..  I then spent nights at the Grand Hyatt in New York (using some free frequent flyer hotel stays).  It was an amazing vacation, and probably the most luxurious I have ever had.

I flew back to London the evening of September 10.  I arrived at Heathrow on September 11, took a taxi home to nearby Richmond where I lived, slept for a few hours, and then and turned on the tube.  And there was the World Trade Center up in smoke.  The first tower was hit, then the day unfolded in tragedy. I was extremely concerned about the safety of my younger sister who was in Manhattan at the time; but she was fine. I can only describe my reaction as shock.

I was on one of the last major passenger ship to arrive in New York for quite a while, and on one of the very last transatlantic flights to get out.  I felt somewhat guilty that I was safe after a week of luxury, and all these people were dead.  And I do think I shed a tear, something which I honestly cannot remember doing much of an as an adult.

Most people in the U.K. acted like they themselves were hit, and there was great sympathy and sadness everywhere. Lots of people in London who I knew telephoned to see if my New York family was O.K. On September 14, and for the first time, The Star Spangled Banner was played at the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace as a tribute, ordered by The Queen to show solidarity with the United States. It was very moving.

Just thought you would be interested in knowing a bit about the real life me.

One thing I want to share with you. I moved to Palm Beach County, Florida, in 2005. The World Trade Center terrorists actually lived near where I live now when they were training to fly airplanes in 2001. They visited my Doctor (who is the best)  in town in 2001 right before they hit the twin towers -- you can read about it here.  This really flipped me out when I found out.

This is an update of a column I wrote here in 2009. 

To see how construction in  the World Trade Center site is progressing:

1 comment:

  1. Great tunes on your blog. I am proud to be alive and love my country and people everywhere. Will be a day of memories tomorrow thinking of those who lost there lives and there friends whose life was changed for ever. Letting your tunes play as I sit back and think. Thanks.


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