Since we’re coming up to the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks in New York & Washington, and that I’m from the United States, BBC Radio Sheffield interviewed me about what I remember of the day. Specifically, I was called to the BBC studio that day & that’s where I saw World Trade Centre towers collapse; my father was in Manhattan when the attacks occurred & I couldn’t verify his safety for days; and my in-laws, who are physical anthropologists, worked with DMORT to recover bodies for months at the “Fresh Kills” landsite. This is all covered in the interview which you can download.
The thing that really hits me is that so many people saw the attacks live: not the first plane, of course, but there were many watching the aftermath of the first crash at the World Trade Centre when the second plane hit. I think that’s why our reactions are so strong: we saw it unfold, and we all slowly realised the significance of the acts we witnessed. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the opportunity to talk about the legacy of 9/11, which includes the war in Afghanistan, the justification for the war in Iraq, the death of countless civilians, the erosion of civil liberties, the advocacy of torture, the draining of the US’s material wealth, the continuing inflammation of anti-American sentiment abroad and the decline of American power. It’s a bloody and unspeakably tragic legacy. In any event, if you want to hear someone saying “uh” & “ah” a lot, have a listen.