Ten years ago today it was a beautiful, sunny day in Christchurch, New Zealand. I was nearing the end of a holiday with my sister and my fiancé. We had spent the previous fortnight travelling New Zealand in a hired car, finding our accommodation as we went along.
Two weeks wasn’t long enough to see even our limited itinerary and I didn’t want to waste a minute of our last days there. When I emerged from the shower ready to go and found my fiancé and sister glued to the television, I reacted with impatience. My fiancé was a news junkie. I knew he had felt disconnected from the world on our trip, but seriously… what news could be so important that it held up our holiday?
Then I saw what had happened overnight in New York.
I have scheduled this post to coincide with the approximate time that I saw the news, on the morning of September 12, New Zealand time, several hours after the events had taken place. Ten years ago at this moment I was stunned. Like the rest of the world I was mesmerised and horrified by the news footage, not quite able to take it in.
We were outside of Australia, yet in a country where we felt very safe. Even news reports about the imminent failure of our airline hadn’t worried us (Ansett stopped flying the first time just three hours after we landed at home). We didn’t know anyone likely to be in New York, but we mourned the thousands. We watched the news for a while that morning but it was still the same limited footage repeating with no new information coming through. We spent the rest of the day quietly, exploring Christchurch.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be in the USA when the planes hit, let alone in New York. The stories were heartbreaking.
I have written this post to mark the day.