Sunday, September 11, 2011

What I remember on September 11, 2001

I was living in Holland (the Netherlands) at the time and just happened to be watching CNN. I watched the entire thing unfold before my eyes. The newscasters went from reporting ordinary news to “this just in” and there were the towers. They showed the first plane hitting, and while they debated whether or not it was an accident or on purpose, the second plane flew into the next tower. Not long after that, I watched both towers go down. I couldn’t believe it. When I was eighteen, I’d stood on the roof of one of those towers, and those buildings (after collapsing) would have wiped out the entire center of Amsterdam. How could these “little” planes have such a huge impact?

What was especially disturbing during this time was the fact that I was outside the US and had to witness first hand (in my face) the reaction of the middle-eastern students and Islamic leaders. They were cheering in the streets!!! For days!!! And I won’t repeat the hateful things they would say. Gulp!

I was also concerned about our neighbor, wondering if they were also cheering about what happened because they were also Muslim and from Afghanistan. Of course, they knew we were an American family (our kids played together), so I was hesitant to knock on her door. A few days after the attack, she came to my door. She told me that she had family in New York and had no idea if they were safe or not because she couldn’t reach anyone. Anyway, she was suffering with us, and I felt ashamed for not having been the first to reach out to her. Later, it turned out her family was safe and all was well.

Months after the attacks, we still had to be careful, avoiding Islamic neighborhoods that had signs hung up on shop windows, saying things like: Yankees Go Home, etc. That was in Antwerp, Belgium. My husband made it clear that we were not to speak English outside the home (although, all the neighbors in our little village knew we were part American; my husband is Dutch; and we had three young children at the time). But we followed his orders. No more English outside the home.


  1. Wow what a different perspective! I can't believe they were cheering in the streets. It sounds like you guys had to live in fear over there more than we did over here!

  2. If anything, this proves we are at war with radical Islam.

    Nike Chillemi, it's posting me as anonymous again.