At first I wasn't sure if I was going to post anything about 9/11, but after having so many students and friends asking me about it and wanting to talk about it this week, I decided it might be a good idea. All week students have been asking me about 9/11 and French television has been overloaded with 9/11 programming, but I guess what really tipped the scale was a conversation with some friends last night.
We were invited to a friend's house for an apéro, and we were all sitting on the balcony, enjoying the relatively decent weather, when one of our friends mentioned that Sunday was the 10th anniversary of 9/11. This got everyone talking and another friend made a comment about how important 9/11 is for the entire world, not just the US. He pointed out that, when speaking of these attacks, everyone can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing when the World Trade Center was hit. However, this is not the case with other terrorist attacks. He mentioned, as an example, that almost no one knows where the were in 1995 when the St. Michel metro was attacked, but everyone in France knows what they were doing when 9/11 happened.
So, where were you and what were you doing? I was in my first year of college, only the second week of school. Though the first plane hit the WTC at 8:46 am, I didn't learn of it until 9:00 when I arrived for my first class of the day, Italian. Class started at 9:10, but I arrived about 10 minutes early, and when I walked into the room some students were already there watching the TV. I looked up to see an image of smoke coming from the WTC and continued to watch, not fully comprehending, as the second plane struck at 9:03. We continued to watch the news until 9:10 when our professor walked in to start class, yelled at us for having the TV on, walked over, turned it off saying "we aren't going to watch that" and then proceeded to hold the entire Italian class. As soon as class ended we turned the TV back on to learn that the Pentagon had also been hit and that one tower had just collapsed. From there, the rest is history.
I thought my friend's comment was very interesting, and it really shows the global impact that 9/11 had and still has. All week, and particularly today, I have been reminded by US media and facebook that Americans will never forget, but, even more importantly perhaps, the entire world will never forget.