This blog is about books and writing, but today I’m going to recount my own experience on that day twelve years ago, and the days immediately afterwards. It was not unique, but it was different.
I was sound asleep in a hotel room in Melbourne, Australia, when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. Melbourne is fourteen hours ahead of New York, and the first news I had of the attack was from the newspaper on my breakfast table almost a full day after it occurred. I recall feeling left out at the time, not experiencing the pain personally with the rest of my country. I was scheduled to leave Australia the following Saturday, but air traffic in the US had been shut down and overseas flights into the country halted. I wanted to go home very much, but had no idea when I could. I can’t remember what the state of personal communications devices was in 2001, but–always far behind the times–I wouldn’t have had one anyway. My only contact was with with my wife via the hotel telephone, and the two or three times we spoke there wasn’t much to say. Continue reading