It is the anniversary of 9/11 again. It was a time that no one will forget especially those caught up in the awful tragedy. For others, like me, we watched the horror unfold on our TV screens wondering if this wasn’t actually a disaster movie being shown.
Nearly 3,000 people died in the terrorist attacks and left families decimated. Over 3,000 children were left without a parent.
The destruction of the Twin Towers had a huge impact on the global economy and especially the economy of Lower Manhattan. It took over nine months to clean up the site of the World Trade Center and a year to repair the damage to the Pentagon.
Now, 11 years on, we still remember. I still vividly recall watching the drama enfold on our small portable tv in the office in London. The phones went quiet and time seemed to stand still. We wondered what had happened, who had done it, what on earth was going to happen next, as reports came in of the other two planes.
A couple of days later they started showing the pictures and names of British people that had died and a picture flashed up of someone I knew – Derek Sword. I hadn’t been expecting that at all. I had met Derek at Skibo Castle a fortnight earlier. I was there with my then boyfriend and Derek was there celebrating his engagement with his fiancée. Originally from Scotland he was working in New York and his fiancée was American. They were such lovely people and so obviously in love. We gravitated towards each other because we all felt like fish out of water in the opulent surroundings of Skibo.
We all swapped business cards before we left and honestly thought we’d meet up again in New York in the future. Only to see that Derek died in the Twin Towers a fortnight later and there was no longer a future for him. Following comments in the Memorial Book his parents set up I saw that his fiancée finally met someone else and married – Derek’s parents being at the wedding too. It was good to see some happiness back in their lives.
Sometimes something in life can hit you like a brick wall – whether in business or personally. But with time, positivity and a will to achieve, anything can be done. The regeneration in the Ground Zero area is a pure sign that anything can be done if you have a will to do it. On this day 11 years ago I doubt anyone had a positive thought in their minds towards the future. It takes time and perseverance.
On the day of the attacks, New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani proclaimed, “We will rebuild. We’re going to come out of this stronger than before, politically stronger, economically stronger. The skyline will be made whole again.” Besides other buildings being built in the area One World Trade Center is currently under construction at the site and at 1,776 ft (541 m) upon completion in 2013, will become the tallest building in North America.
These buildings will memorialize what happened that day and show the determination to rebuild a business community again that I’m sure will be bigger and better than before even if just to prove the point that terrorists never win.
So today, or in fact any day, take some time out to remember the people who died and their families who are surviving, but also remember the coming together of people to deal with the aftermath. Remember the cohesion of different nationalities working together to make a better place for the future. Remember that out of that decimation something bigger and better has been built. And realise it can be done.
My thoughts go to all families and friends that lost a loved one that day.