Thirteen years have now gone by since the day that the world changed forever with the terror attacks in the US. It hardly seems possible that the events that day, that I remember as clearly as if they were yesterday, happened all those years ago.
On September 11, 2001, I was 10 weeks pregnant and in the early afternoon in the UK, I'd just gone into a bar where I'd worked until a short time before. As I caught up with former colleagues while stood at the bar, the kitchen staff, who'd had the radio on, came running out and shouted for the TV to be put on. The bartender asked why and was told "JUST DO IT!". He did so and those of us who were in the bar turned to watch.
Within seconds we were clinging to one another in stunned silence as the enormity of what we, with the rest of the world, were witnessing; the immediate aftermath of American Airlines Flight 11 crashing into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York at 8:46 am local time/ 1:46 pm BST. We all kept our eyes on the screen and my hand instinctively moved to my stomach.
The silence was replaced by screams as we watched United Airlines Flight 175 crash into the South Tower at 9:03 am, the aftermath of the crash of American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon at 9:37 am and United Airlines Flight 93 southeast of Pittsburgh in Somerset County, Pennsylvania at 10:03 am.
Although I do not know anyone personally who passed away that day, I grieve with those who did. I give heartfelt, prayerful thanks every day for the actions of everyone who risked their own lives and indeed the hundreds who lost their lives trying to rescue others. Without them, many, many more would have been lost.
I also give thanks and salute the thousands of Armed Forces personnel who have paid the ultimate sacrifice since, and in the face of continuing terror attacks I pray for all those who will deploy.
I will NEVER forget! God bless the USA and God bless all of us!