Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 - Ten years later

This year is the first year I've felt ready to confront my emotions around 9/11. Every year has felt too raw. I hope that as a society (western society), we evaluate our societal changes since that day. Still, today isn't about society, it's about remembering those individuals who died that day - those in the towers, the Pentagon, the planes, and the rescue workers. And those are still dying from the diseases from exposures on that day (such as asbestos-related cancers).

According to the CBC:

The 2,977 official victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were from more than 90 countries, and memorial services were held around the world Sunday. A service in Gander, Newfoundland & Labrador, commemorated 9/11 and recalled the 6,700 air travellers who were stranded in the town of 9,000 people for up to three days when North American airspace was shut down in the wake of the attacks. Memorials were also held or pending in Halifax, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, and other places in Canada. Elsewhere:
• In Japan, families gathered in Tokyo to pay their respects to the 23 Fuji Bank employees who never made it out of their World Trade Center office. A dozen of the workers who died were Japanese.
• In Malaysia, Pathmawathy Navaratnam woke up Sunday in her suburban Kuala Lumpur home and did what she's done every day for the past 10 years: wish her son "good morning." Vijayashanker Paramsothy, a 23-year-old financial analyst, was killed in the attacks on New York.
• In Santiago, more than 5,000 people partook in a march to remember Chile's Sept. 11 — the fateful day in 1973 when U.S.-backed Gen. Augusto Pinochet overthrew the country's democratic government in a coup and installed a vicious dictatorship that killed more than 3,000 people, tortured up to 30,000 others and forced a further 30,000 into exile.
• In Manila, Philippines, dozens of former shanty dwellers offered roses, balloons and prayers for another 9/11 victim, American citizen Marie Rose Abad. Their neighbourhood used to be a shantytown that reeked of garbage. But in 2004, Abad's Filipino-American husband built 50 brightly coloured homes, fulfilling his late wife's wish to help impoverished Filipinos. The village has since been named after her.
• In Kabul, U.S. soldiers marked the anniversary of the attacks with a ceremony outside the American Embassy. On display was a symbolic iron-made sculpture of the World Trade Center and New York city skyline. The sculpture was made of the steel ruins of the twin towers.
• In New Zealand, players from the American Eagles rugby team were among the first to mark the anniversary at a memorial service in the town of New Plymouth. The players, who are participating in the Rugby World Cup tournament, listened to a speech by U.S. Ambassador David Huebner, whose brother Rick survived the attacks on the World Trade Center.
• In Australia, Sydney resident Rae Tompsett said she's never felt angry over the murder of her son Stephen Tompsett, 39, a computer engineer who was on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center's north tower when it was hit by a hijacked plane. "No, not anger," she said. "Sorrow. Sorrow that the people who did this believed they were doing something good." The retired school teacher and her husband Jack, 92, were planning to attend Sunday morning mass as usual at their local church before going to a commemorative service in the afternoon.
• In South Korea, President Lee Myung-bak sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama conveying his "deepest condolences" to the victims.
• In Pakistan, which has been a victim of al-Qaeda attacks but is also accused of not doing enough to crack down on militants, the country's leaders said they joined the people of the U.S. in honouring the memory of those killed 10 years ago.

Barack Obama: "A decade after 9/11, it's clear for all the world to see — the terrorists who attacked us that September morning are no match for the character of our people, the resilience of our nation, or the endurance of our values. [...] And no matter what comes our way, as a resilient nation, we will carry on."

Where were you when you found out? Had the first plane struck? Had the towers collapsed? What did you think?

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