Sunday, September 11, 2011

Today, ten years ago...

Boeing 757-223 N644AA/5BP, which crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 as American Airlines Flight 77. Photo © Sunil Gupta

...the world changed.

It had gone by like just another day for me. A day at university, in the third of a four-year course in Aerospace Engineering in Melbourne, Australia. It was coming up to 11pm, and like most other evenings, I was completing assignments from school while flitting in and out of my favourite scale modeling internet forums when posts started appearing about a plane hitting the World Trade Centre in New York. Great, some fool had made a pig's ear of a stunt flying between the towers was the first thought that sprang into my head, without bothering to read the threads. And went back to my work.

It was my next visit to the forums, about 20 minutes later, when I saw reports that a second plane had hit the second WTC Tower, and someone had remarked that it 'looked like a 737' (strange how the human mind remembers little details like that) and that was the point when I realised something big was happening. Two planes. Two buildings. Two jetliners. This was no accident, or a stunt gone wrong. I started combing through the news websites like BBC, CNN and NBC only to find all the sites were down, crashed due to the surge in hits on the sites. Without cable TV then, I waited till the next scheduled news bulletin was on before flicking on the TV, only to find I needn't had waited as all terrestial channels had already crossed over to live feeds from American TV networks, and there was already wall-to-wall footage of the second plane (as it turned out, United Airlines Flight 175) crashing into the WTC's South Tower.

The next couple of hours were a mixture of shock, horror, confusion and numbness as bit by bit, news of what we now know, started filtering in.

The world had changed.

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