The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Why Living Through History Means We Should Learn Through History.
September 9, 2011, 6:00 am
Filed under: Comment

So on Sunday it’s 10 years since the terrorist attack on the twin towers.

Ten years.

In some respects, it feels much longer … and yet every time I am in NYC and I pass the ground zero site, I am always amazed that those 2 massively imposing buildings aren’t there, as if I saw them only a few months ago.

While I was living in Australia at the time, I feel deeply connected to that event.

Not just because I – like everyone else around the world – watched history unfold in front of my eyes, but because I knew a number of people who were working in those buildings.

One of those was Andy.

For a few months, he’d been working on – I think – the 84th floor of – I think – the North Tower.

He was helping out a company with some work they needed help doing, however his then wife’s grandmother became seriously ill, so they flew to Toronto to see her.

That was September 9th.

By September 10th, things weren’t improving so instead of flying back that afternoon to be at work the next morning, they decided to stay a few more days.

That decision saved his life.

I cannot explain the feeling of relief I had when I finally got through to him and knew he was OK, which is why regardless of how much of a cow his wife #2 turned out to be, I am eternally grateful to her and her grandmother.

Unfortunately, I also experienced the other side of the situation.

The sister of one of my friends had entered the Twin Towers early that morning.

It was her 2nd day working at a financial company, and only her 2nd week in NYC.

She loved the job, the country and where she was located.

When the first plane hit, she was in the other tower.

We now know that she wrote an email to her parents – who were holidaying in Spain at the time – saying that when they see the news in the morning, they should not worry because she was located in the other tower and all was OK.

Tragically, that email was sent literally minutes before the 2nd plane hit the other tower – around the floor that she was working on.

While I can never feel the same sense of loss as the people who lost loved ones and in no way am I trying to say my experience with 9/11 is worse than anyone else – I know it’s absolutely nothing of the sort – I remember a feeling of total despair.

Despair for what was happening and what was probably going to happen.

Nothing good came from this event.


So as we approach the 10th anniversary of this tragic day, I hope we remember more than just the poor people who died – or those affected because they died – but the importance of understanding, tolerance, communication and love because while those factors had little to do with how/why the events on Sept 11th 2001 happened, they may ensure something of incredible importance comes out of it for the rest of us.

35 Comments so far
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are you hitting on me again campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

that marriage turned out to be a similar fucking disaster.

Comment by andy@cynic

The incredible capacity for humans to inflict death, pain, and suffering makes even my most joyous moment a little suspect at times. I marvel at our capacity to do that. Of course I abhor
the happening, of course I cry (literally, I cry at commercials that set out to make me cry) but I really get bugged by people who elevate 9/11 to a height that diminishes what we are doing to each other, around the world, not just in the “”most powerful democracy in the world” every fucking day. But of course we are spreading democracy, that makes it OK. So, in despair I go back to making the best communication I can. Hey, you got to pay the toll.

Comment by Ciaran McCabe

its the standard excuse now ciaran.

declaring war to firing fuckloads of people can be brushed off with the words “fighting for democracy” or “its just business”. and idiots have started to believe it. funny how they change their fucking tune when it happens to them.

Comment by andy@cynic

and by the way campbell, youre a fucking sweetie.

Comment by andy@cynic

but im fucking worth it.

Comment by andy@cynic

Nice one Robert.

Comment by George

I get very upset when people start comparing death tolls as if there is some sort of competition. I’d expect it from the gutter press but I’ve heard people talk about it, showing how desensitized so many of us have become to human tragedy or how gullible we have become to the justifications of it.

Comment by Pete

9/11 was tragic and shit. I lost 9 friends and will be there on Sunday to remember them. When it happened I wanted revenge. I wanted America to be strong and decisive. I was wrong. Justice and revenge are very different beasts but I still meet people who can’t distinguish it. Families of the bereaved or victims of the attack I could understand, but it’s rarely them. The compulsion to get involved in matters you have nothing to do with is an American trait but using 9-11 to do that is unwarranted and unwanted.

Nice post Rob and I’m with you thanking Andy’s #2

Comment by DH

That’s a great comment Dave.

Comment by Pete


Comment by john


Comment by Rob


Jemma x

Comment by Jemma King


Comment by Rob Mortimer


Comment by TOTOinTrouble

well thats stopped every fucker in their tracks hasnt it.

how the fuck do you follow that? anyone know any good jokes? apart from the economy?

and wheres fucking lauren and age? even marcus says hello more than them and hes working like a bastard in fear of being sent back to the shed.

good work dave. beers next week.

Comment by andy@cynic

Always thought Dave was Australian or Taiwanese …

as for your final paragraph Campbell.. I’ll drink to that..

Comment by niko

hes a fucking brit. but he sounds like a yank. sellout.

Comment by andy@cynic

taiwanfuckingnese? that must be some good shit youre sticking up your nose.

Comment by andy@cynic

I believe they have managed to find the secret escape tunnel.

Comment by Rob

Yes, Taiwanese?

Comment by Rob

Comment of the year. Thank you Dave.

Comment by Marcus

Wow. Wonderfully written, Rob, and so true.

Comment by Aditya

Cheap shot at Andy there, BTW. Ouch.

Comment by Aditya

Brilliant post and an amazing comment by Dave.

Comment by Bazza

So, we all recognize the problem. And we can be funny (not witty) about it. Anybody got any ideas how answer the problem? Hey, it’s easier to go on making witty about the
problem. I’s kind of adrealin – producing to occasionally
question the status quo.

Comment by Ciaran McCabe

I once suggested to the Singaporean Government that they would be better off sending their young population on a mandatory backpacking holiday than national service. I said this because I was spotting massive attitudes towards entitlement and a general prejudice towards anyone who [1] wasn’t from there [2] wasn’t driving a BMW and felt a dose of understanding and respecting other people, cultures and views would help.

Of course I was laughed out and while I accept this would be almost impossible to administer – especially on a bigger scale than Singapore – I do feel that sense of understanding is vital to try and close gaps rather than increase them.

Comment by Rob

That is a tragic story about the sister of your friend. Through understanding and tolerance, we could improve the world.

Comment by CarolWeinfeld

While we all love the banter between you two, this just shows that beneath it there a really strong respect.* Regardless of the causes we should never forget those who are innocently killed in the name of someone else’s ideology or war.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

You know shit about “the importance of understanding, tolerance, communication and love”. And never will.


PS: Those factors had much to do with why/how 9/11 happened. Of course, how would you know, stupid.

Comment by Fuck You.


Comment by Rob Mortimer

Hello … I hadn’t seen this comment.

So pray tell why I know nothing about the importance of understanding, tolerance, communication and love … and never will. That’s quite a statement from someone called “Fuck You”.

You’re entitled to your opinion even if it’s a pile of shit.

Comment by Rob

I thought trolls like that dude had gone out of fashion in 2003. Apparently not.

Comment by Aditya

dear fuck you. campbell might be decent enough to let you explain your fucking shit but i wont. you dont know what the fuck youre talking about so fuck you and fuck off you piece of petty little shit.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by Rob Mortimer

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