The day we remember today was back in 2001 a bright, sunny day in Germany. At least where I was. At home. I had a mild cold and was laying on my sofa, watching TV. I can´t tell you what show I was watching specifically or if I was switching from one station to the next. All I remember is that at some point during the early afternoon I had CNN on the TV screen and saw a burning World Trade Center in the background of the top of a building, where a CNN Newsman told the world that a small plane had crashed into one of the towers of the most iconic buildings in the world.

From that moment on I was glued to the TV. Watching with growing horror and shock. I couldn´t believe what I saw. A few years back, in the summer of 1996, I had visited New York and one of the sights I went to, was the World Trade Center. I felt tiny the moment I stood in front of it, leaned my head back, and looked up at the gray, glass, steel-framed facade.

It was just wow. A dream had come true. I was about to step inside a world-famous building.

I remember stepping into the superfast elevator, that brought me and my friend up to the visitor´s area within no time. One second, I had been in the entrance area, the next I was several meters above the ground. Welcomed by huge, from bottom to ceiling going windows. Offering me a spectacular view over the city of New York. Giving the floor we were a never-ending impression. To be honest, back then, in 2001, I couldn´t get the images in my mind and what I saw on TV together. Still can´t.

No matter what TV station you turned to that day, you saw the huge clouds of smoke and dust hovering over the place that is today known as Ground Zero. Life changed that day. Not only for America or Germany. But for the entire world.

All week long I watched special reports and 9/11 documentaries on CNN, BBC, and German TV and saw the pictures again from what happened insight the World Trade Center and outside twenty years ago. Saw new footage I´ve never seen before and it is still painful to watch. To see how a legendary monument of steel and engineering skill burns and later collapses was and still is unforgettable. In a negative and positive way.

Today, life has changed again. We live in a pandemic. Coming together is not as easy as it has been during the past twenty years. Hugging each other is no longer so natural. The virus has made us cautious. Has changed the world.


Friday night, while watching a documentary “Germany 9/11” I was reminded again, that the men, who planned and carried out the attacks lived in Hamburg, Germany. The knowledge, that those men died in these attacks, is not at all comforting. Yes, in some ways it is compensatory justice. But when I think of the fact, that these men willingly and with open eyes flew into their own death, deliberately taking thousands of innocent people with them my stomach still turns. And I can´t imagine how all those families feel about it who lost a beloved family member during the attacks or as a result of them years later.

Yes, we will never forget. The world will never forget.

September 11th is also my stepmom´s birthday. Before 9/11, we celebrated every year her special day. Came together for coffee and cake. Shared some laughter, joy, and enjoyed our time together. Well, this day is now a bittersweet day for us. We celebrate her life and the loss of all those who died in these attacks. In New York. At the Pentagon in Virginia. In Shanksville, Pennsylvania on Flight 93. People from different countries. And every year I watch the memorial services that are aired by CNN and the BBC. Hear all the names, read at Ground Zero. It is still heartbreaking.

Wishing you all the best

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