Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th, 2001

Today is September 11th 2011. Ten years ago our world was horrifically, inexplicably changed by hate. P and I had been living in England for over a year. It was in Grad School and stayed home that day (a beautiful, mild, sunny day) because the tree trimmer was coming to trim out chesnut tree in the back garden and I needed to let him in through the locked gate. I can't remember what alerted me to what happened and when as we were five hours ahead of New York. The tree trimmer was taking a tea or smoke break or something and made some remark like "bloody Americans deserved it". I called P at work and immediately turned on CNN, which I watched the rest of the day. P came home and watched with me and several of our relatives back in the states called us that evening. It was frightening to be so far from home and witness the events. Several of our fellow expats called each other and expressed our feelings.

THe next day I went back to my University Department and not one person said a word to me except our cleaning/tea lady. (At university, there was a lady whose job was to set up "tea" every day promptly at 11:00 am which includes two pots of tea, yucky biscuits, and three press coffeepots, sugar and milk. She washed all the mugs afterwards -just water- and wiped and put everything away.) She was an old British lady and said, "I know who did this, the Japs did it". She had lived through WWII. I was so disappointed that not one person expressed a condolence to me for the tragedy that our country went through. (What hurts was when there a big earthquake in Greece, and we had a student from Greece, they all expressed sympathy and took up a collection for the victims). The majority of people in that department were jerks.

The following week I was in a large British SUpermarket and Prime Minister Tony Blair (I really liked him) decreed a moment of national silence for the victims. Every single person in that supermarket stopped what they were doing for three minutes and were silent out of respect. That was so touching. I don't think one person knew I was American and how much it meant to me. I was touched. When we came home that holiday season, I was awed by the large displays of patriotism everywhere. THe next year on September 11th, I hung up a giant american flag in our window (we lived at a main intersection).

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