What one moment in history changed your life or the way you see things now?
What one moment in history left an indelible mark on you?
For me, the events of 9/11 are indelibly fixed in my mind.
Twenty years on Saturday, September 11th 2021, we remember those who perished on that fateful day.
I remember the day so well my eldest son, then two had had a fall at the Nursery, and I received a call to pick him up.
The following day we were due to fly to Italy to meet up with my mother and the rest of my Italian family, so as you can imagine, I was nervous that my child might not be well.
I snuggled my son on the sofa and had the TV on quietly to keep him occupied.
As I sat and worked next to him, I was unaware of the world events unfolding.
As New York is five hours behind, I continued to work keeping an eye on my son.
When my husband returned home earlier than expected, a little after 2:25 pm, I was surprised to find him looking tired and perplexed.
Have you seen the news? No, I said, I had to pick up Ollie early?
He picked up the TV remote, turned on the news channel, and I watched, fascinated by the imagery. My first response was a new Hollywood blockbuster movie.
Incredulously I began to take it in.
My brain quickly calculated that this was an actual live physical event unravelling before our very eyes.
Even now, I recoil in anger and sadness.
Events that shape our lives are what make us.
Historical events are vital for us to remember. We acknowledge and witness them but we also have a sense of obligation to observe them.
In the same way, we celebrate a birthday or remember someone passing over; they are reminders of the fragility of life.
BBC aired two poignant programs, Surviving 9/11 and 9/11 Inside the President’s war room. National Geographic is airing 9/11 One day in America leading up to Saturday’s remembrance.
Both programmes serve as a stark reminder of what happened on that dark day told by survivors; no journalistic prejudice or idealism but spoken in the words of those who witnessed that terrifying day.
It is a sombre subject, but it remains a life-changing event.
Nothing of this magnitude had ever happened previously, the most lethal terrorist attack in history.
Those who perished at the hands of extremists should be respected and remembered.
Their legacy provides a vital historical contribution for generations.
We hope to learn from mistakes through history, how societies and cultures continue to evolve, and why people behave the way they do.
History gives us the knowledge to create a better society. Hopefully, it helps make sense of the world we live in and predict what might happen next.
9/11 changed our world, and as one female pilot, her mission to bring down United 93 explained, “everything changed after 9/11 the world has changed I fear more for my children’s future now than I did before 9/11”.
If we look back, there are always events that shape and transform our society and lessons for us to learn.
Should history be just that, relegated to the past where it belongs?
I think not.
Commemorating 9/11 and its impact on the world is inescapable; its legacy connects us through time, and it should never be forgotten.