Five years ago, I was on a training course in the middle of Manchester and had just broken for lunch. Sitting around, chewing over the morning's lectures and generally enjoying a relaxing moment, someone received a text message to say that a plane had flown into the World Trade Centre.
This was just unbelievable. It had to be a mistake, but if it wasn't, then a tragic accident. But then the news came through an hour later that a second plane had hit. My mind was in turmoil. I still couldn't believe it, but at the same time, the two reports seemed to confirm the truth. Confusion reigned in my mind, and seemed to be reflected by others I talked to. An American on the course said something which I am sure he has regretted ever since - "About time - bloody ugly buildings!" I'm sure that he, like all of us assumed it was some mistake.
I got home that evening and switched on the news - no mistake!
By that time, the 2 buildings were still standing, but very shortly, the first one fell. I was fascinated and horrified both at the same time. The apparent slow-motion of its fall was almost balletic and encapsulated a lot of beauty. My mind was refusing to accept that what I was watching was the horrific deaths of hundreds, if not thousands of people. That realisation only came to prominence when the second tower fell - and I knew then, the world will never be the same again.
Today, I refuse to make any comment of what has happened since. Today I remember all those caught up in this tragedy. Today, as I write this, a tear is in my eye and I refuse to wipe it away. Today, I, along with any other civilised person, stand to remember this event and my heart truely belongs to all those affected.