Remembering the human tragedy of 9/11: exactly 10 years ago today

by Stephen Tall on September 11, 2011

At 8:46 am (1:46 pm in the UK) on Tuesday, 11th September, 2001 American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the north face of the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.

2,996 people died, including the 19 hijackers of the planes. 67 of these were British nationals. In total, 20 countries mourned the loss of citizens that day.

Since 9/11, more than a hundred thousand military and civilians have died as a result of military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The scale of death inflicted is vast, incomprehensible. It is not, though, the numbers that tell the real story.

It is the memory of the planes piercing the bright blue city skyline, excoceting their targets: their “glint was the worldflash of a coming future,” said Martin Amis.

It is the memory of the realisation that none of us knew what would happen next, that the world could be propelled to the brink in the blinking of an eye.

Most of all it is the memory of human tragedy.

Yes, the world changed. Our complacent assumptions were turned upside down. But it is the individuals and families whose lives were ripped apart we remember today.

Most of us simply observed 9/11 with awestruck horror. They had to live it, that day and every day since.