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10 years ago…

… I was working in a betting shop in Romford. It was a quiet Tuesday afternoon, just a handful of regulars placing small bets on unremarkable races. I got a text message telling me to turn on the news as something extraordinary was happening in New York. I then went through the same process as I’m sure many others did – shock at the initial pictures, followed by trying to work out how air traffic control could have gone so terribly wrong. Perhaps naively it wasn’t until the second plane hit that I realised it was not an accident.

We put the news on one of the screens in the shop. At one point a customer came to the counter and quite irately demanded to know why we were showing a silly disaster film instead of the 3:10 from Kempton. It was a misunderstanding that sums of the surreal nature of that day.

This morning I was setting up my new TV, and since it was Sunday morning most of the channels were showing drivel, so I put it on BBC News which was showing one of dozens of documentaries that have been made about 9/11. Although I have seen those pictures hundreds of times and heard many moving stories of what people endured that day, it still brings a lump to the throat.

This was a story that unfolded on live TV, in all its shocking detail. I won’t just read about it history books and watch archive, like I have done so many events of the past. It’s odd to think there are people now in their teens who wouldn’t have been aware of what was happening on 9/11 and who now wonder what it was like to have lived through those times. Of course people older than me can say the same about many other historical moments.

This was undoubtedly the defining news event of my life so far. Here’s hoping it remains that way.

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