Thursday, September 11, 2008


Seven years seems like a long time ago. I'm sure it feels quite different if you lost someone you loved. (Une étoile perdue au plafond, by darkpatator)

Seven years ago we were living in London. We got up, sent my sister-in-law off to the airport bound for Newark and went to work in the library. We'd taken a lot of time off to enjoy her company, and decided to stay late until around 7:00 and catch up on some work.

We walked the few blocks home, tried to buy a paper. The man in the newstand said "no afternoon papers left, dear." No worries, I replied, the morning paper will do. He seemed puzzled. When we arrived at the flat, my sister-in-law was sitting on the front step. She hadn't been able to get to us inside the library and tell us that she had been sent home just before her afternoon flight was supposed to board. We asked her what she was doing here. Shouldn't she be in Newark?

"Do you two know ANYTHING?" she asked us. No, we replied. We'd been in the library all day.

We found out about the events of 9/11 around ten hours after the fact. We stood in horror and watched the coverage over and over. For a few days, normally reserved Londoners would hear our American accents and express their sympathy, and the older ones told stories of The Blitz. Some American exchange students across the street hung a flag outside their windows. My sister-in-law remained in London for almost another week in an eerily quiet city since no flyovers were allowed.

We went to St. Paul's for the memorial service held by the Queen and the Prime Minister. The cathedral was full of Americans who couldn't get home, many of whom had lost friends or family. It's one of the few times that the Queen was ever seen to cry in public.

Can it really be seven years ago?

If you are remembering friends and family you lost seven years ago today, I just wanted you to know that I'm remembering that day, too.


Anonymous said...

Very vivid memories for me. Genevieve and I were heading out the door for our first harvest of Syrah on her famly's estate. We ended up being about an hour late for the pickers and everyone there was furious until we filled them in. I will always treasure my few bottles of that Chateau Felice 2001 Syrah.

Anonymous said...

very nice story Debs! :)

Anonymous said...

Debs, this was really touching. I had actually just moved to nyc two weeks before it happened, and I know I'll certainly never forget it. Definitely one of those days that I think most people vividly remember exactly where they were, who they were with and what they were doing when they found out. I'm glad I was out wine tasting with Thea and Megan on Sept 11 this year. We talked about it on our way to Sonoma and shared our experiences, but it felt cathartic to do something enjoyable with friends. Thanks for sharing what that day was like for you.

akuban said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Debs. It was eerily quiet in NYC, too, at least in the outer boroughs, where the sirens weren't going as much. It's always interesting to hear where people were, particularly if they were abroad at the time.