Today I am reflecting on 9/11/2001 and those that lost their lives. I am also thinking of those throughout the world that extended to the US, their commiserations.
I was in London that fateful day in my offices next to the London Stock Exchange. It was mid-afternoon when the TV monitors interrupted our market feeds with the images of the 1st tower in flames. A plane they say hit it. I was the only American in the office that day but we all stared in disbelief as the tower burned. Then the second plane hit the second tower - and we immediately knew it was not any accident.
Almost simultaneously, sirens in London went off and they began closing down the stock exchange, locked down Canary Wharf, and London police were erecting barricades everywhere. The Londoner's feared that they were to be imminently hit as well.
As I stared at the monitors, fellow workers came up to me expressing their sorrow as well. I was stunned. My daughter Heather was in one of those towers 3 months before undergoing training at Morgan Stanley. And I found out much later that she was actually on the phone with some of her brokers in that tower when the first plane hit.
That evening Londoners began dropping off flowers in front of the US Embassy. So many bouquets were left there that they filled the street and created a traffic jam. A Scotsman showed up and began playing the bagpipes. The next morning, they moved the flowers to a small park across from the US Embassy in from of a statue of Franklin Roosevelt. Crowds formed lines that were several blocks long waiting for an opportunity to lay some flowers in front of that statue. Waiting in line myself, no one was talking, we were just moving slowing to the entrance of the park. They had set up some tents to allow visitors so sign a book of commiseration for those who lost their lives.
I was amazed at the many nationalities and ethnic groups that were in line. I saw Indian Sikhs, some Arabs, Pakistani, German, Irish, Scots, and a few Japanese in line. All had similar expressions and most were carrying flowers, handmade signs, cards, and other items to leave at the statue.
Phone lines to the US were jammed. my return flight was cancelled and I had to stay in the UK for another 10 days before I could get a flight back home. One never feels so isolated as one does when a disaster strikes at home and you can't call loved ones.
That Saturday, the Queen attended a special mass that was held at St. Paul's Cathedral. Again, thousands showed up; I heard mass from the street that morning. Below are some of the pictures I took of the events.
Link to the pictures: