Tween Talk with Eugenia Tachie-Menson: 9-11-01


Pineville Matthews, Charlotte, North Carolina – USA.

September 11, 2001. None of you tweenagers were born so yes, I’m that old!

It was probably a little past 9a.m. and I was sleeping in the couch, from the night before.

I know – not a good thing, but I was binge-watching my favourite TV show, Golden Girls, and had obviously fallen off to sleep; that is the truth!

There was a news anchor on the ABC TV channel talking about a plane hitting a building. Wait, shouldn’t the programme Good Morning America be on – that lifestyle morning show which is a mishmash of news, entertainment, sports and traffic updates? As a news junkie, it caught my attention; so I sat up, reached for the remote and increased the volume. After 5 minutes of intense gazing at the news anchor as he spoke, I made sense of what had just happened…or did I? Well, a plane carrying 20,000 gallons of jet fuel had flown straight into the north tower of the World Trade Centre (one of the America’s iconic buildings).

The impact of the plane hitting the tower left a gaping hole near the 80-floor, 110 storey-building, immediately killing hundreds of people and trapping thousands…THIS.WAS.HAPPENING!! I couldn’t believe it; it was a freaky accident, they said. Lord, have mercy!! The many people who were working in that building…WAIT!! Was I not meant to have gone on a trip to New York from Charlotte, NC with my friends, with the planned purpose of visiting the World Trade Centre…on..that..same day September 11?! I had turned it down only because I wanted to sleep over my 2 rest days, but my friends went anyway; I reached for the cordless home phone. It was dead; I didn’t charge it, I chided myself.

Then, the news came through…another plane flew through the south tower of the World Trade Centre. Both twin towers were no more in a space of minutes, with uncountable people dead and many more trapped in what was left of both buildings.  What are was happening? How were these pilots missing their flight route and ruining many lives in the process? “America Under Attack” was the next caption I saw scroll across the screen as I tried hard to find the home phone to call my friends – that didn’t go through either.

Then my roommate comes through and yells: “Two planes have hit the Twin Towers” with very palpable fear in her eyes and tone. We both realised the phones at home were not working; they seem to have temporarily been blocked. We just hugged each other and began to cry…and then I remembered and screamed: “PAMELA, works in one of the Twin Towers!!” and tore myself away from my roomie to try and call my cousin Pamela…. oh, no!! Calls are not going through…Lord, please let it be that Pamela did not go to work this day.

I can’t remember what I did or what happened past this, but I heard from my other friends who were going to tour the Twin Towers; they had decided against it. Heard from Pamela later that week; she had been caught in the middle of it but managed to escape – a story I will share at another time.

September 11, or 9-11 as Americans write their date, is now known as the single deadliest terrorist attack in human history. Everyone who was around that day can recall where they were or what they were doing that day.

According to, the two planes that hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre were hijacked by Islamic terrorists from Saudi Arabia and several other Arab nations. Reportedly financed by the Al Qaeda terrorist organisation of then Saudi fugitive Osama Bin Laden, they were allegedly acting in retaliation for America’s support of Israel, its involvement in the Persian Gulf War and its continued military presence in the Middle East.

It continues to say, some of the terrorists had lived in the United States for more than a year and had taken flying lessons at American commercial flight schools. Others had slipped into the country in the months before September 11 and acted as the ‘muscle’ in the operation.

The survivors of this deadly act are many, and some still live with the side effects of what happened some 21 years ago; the psychological effect being bad as the physical scars others live with. Let’s spare a thought for all survivors of 9-11-2001…

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