A Yank in Ireland Remembers September 11, 2001, in Ireland
I remember 9-11 differently than a lot of you do. You were at home in the USA watching events unfold on TV. I was far away in Northern Ireland. My husband Barry and I were touring the Ulster History Park – sadly now defunct and closed. It was a gorgeous day with blue skies, fluffy white clouds and crisp weather. The director of the museum gave us a personal tour and then we wandered through the various outdoor exhibits. There were re-creations of a monastic settlement, various towns and houses.
When we look back on a couple of photos we took that day we can see the effects of the World Trade Center attacks even though we didn’t realize at the time what was happening. If you look at the photos in this article you can see the contrails of jets high over Northern Ireland. Usually when you see jet contrails they are straight. The ones we saw were curved. Why? Unknown to us, American airspace was closed and jets were making U-turns to return from where they departed.
After our tour we stopped in the museum’s café for lunch. While Barry was in the men’s room the museum’s director came up to me and said, “Planes have been hijacked and buildings in New York are falling down. It is on TV.” Then he left. The words didn’t make any sense to me but I could tell something was terribly wrong. Barry returned and I told him something was going on and we should go out to the car and turn on the radio. Without the pictures that everyone else was seeing of the tragedy, even the radio report seemed disjointed, unbelievable and still didn’t make sense.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and that is true. When we reached out self-catering cottage the first film we saw was of a plane hitting one of the towers. Barry yelled, “That was United!” At the time he worked for United Airlines. Later we learned that he knew several flight attendants and one of the pilots on the United planes that were hijacked.
© 2011 Michele Erdvig
“Ireland Travel Expert”
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