Where have those 12 years gone? I know that time goes faster as one gets older, but this is ridiculous.
Back in 2001 I was still working, although it would be only another eight months before I retired. I knew nobody who was personally affected by the tragedy, but it was not all that long before that the Old Bat and I had visited New York (for the first and probably the last time) and we had gone up to the observation deck at the WTC. My knowledge - admittedly only slight - of the site of the tragedy made it seem just a little more personal to me.
I am ashamed to say that, before the full extent of the horror became obvious - this was after hearing simply the first radio reports - there was a certain feeling here in Britain of 'now they know what it's like'. We, especially in Northern Ireland but also here in Brighton and elsewhere in England, had lived through some 30 years of bombings by the Irish Republican Army and its off-shoots. What was especially galling was that much of the funding for the IRA came from collections taken up in the USA. Of course, as soon as people realised the extent of the horror, that attitude disappeared.
But why, oh why, can mankind not live and let live? What is it about religion that brings out the worst in people? We have had Catholics and Protestants fighting in Ulster, Sunni and Shia fighting in Iraq, Muslims and Christians fighting in other places. Is it really any wonder that many people have turned their backs on all of the "gods"? Or, perhaps, not the gods but organised religion.
I mentioned that we had a bombing by the IRA here in Brighton. That morning (12 October 1984), my wife was taking our younger son and a friend of his into town for some school event. The traffic was horrendous and Johny (son's friend) asked, "Could it have anything to do with the bombing?" That was the first the Old Bat had heard of it! This is the Grand Hotel after the explosion, courtesy D4444n at the English language Wikipedia