I set out after work, on the evening of September 11th, 2014 with the goal of talking to 5 people and asking them three simple questions.
- Do you mind if I ask you a question?
- Where were you on September 11th?
- What do you remember most about that day/do you remember how you felt that day
I didn’t have any agenda other than that. It was a lot harder and a lot easier than I thought it would be. For some reason, talking to strangers is not my forte. I can do it when I think I have something compelling or interesting to talk about, but I’m not one for small talk.
It was harder in the sense that I walked around for probably 15 minutes before I approached anyone. It was easier in the sense that once I actually started talking to people, they were very willing to share their stories and what they remembered.
While I did ask for permission for their names and to take their pictures (which they all granted) I didn’t tell I’d be publishing this online. For that reason, I’m going to leave out their names.
“This is my son, he was only 5.”
“What do you remember most about that day?”
“I was in Paris, France. In a meeting with the councilor to the Prime Minister. I worked in the European Commission then. Everyone started going crazy because the markets were reacting to the events. I was panicked. I couldn’t believe it.”
(Spoken with thick French accent).
“I owned a bar in Florida back then. Well, it was more of a restaurant/bar. We had just opened when the news came in and everyone just stopped eating and started staring at the TVs.”
“What do you remember most?”
“Confusion. We thought it was an accident, and then boom, another one. I think even at that point we weren’t sure what was going on. Nobody was saying anything. What do you say?”
“Do you mind if I take your picture?”
“As long as my car can be in it.”
“Do you speak English?”
“Do you remember where you were on 9/11?”
“In Austria. We were still on Holiday.”
“Do you remember how you felt?”
“I just kept thinking why? Why would anyone do that? Why would anyone want to fly an airplane into a building?”
“We were in Kansas City, you familiar?”
“Can’t say I’ve ever been. What do you remember about that day?”
“We were on our way to work. I was listening to the radio. You know we didn’t have cell phones on us 24/7 back then. Whatever we were listening to was interrupted with the news. They still thought it was an accident at that point. When we got to work we heard about the second plane. We all just sat there the whole day with our jaws on the floor. Nobody knew what to do.”