Saturday, 10 September 2011

I do not know your name

 A poem written by Kenny Harris begins and ends with the following line:

I do not know your name, but I know you died
I do not know from where you came, but I know you died

He wrote it after visiting some war graves. I couldn't find any poems of remembrance for non-military people who had died in a war but these lines really sum up how I feel.
As we approach the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, I'm sure many of us will reflect on where we were when the first of the planes struck. I was in an office in Central London in my first design job. My colleagues and I watched it all happening on the Internet. At first there was laughter as it looked like a hoax but as we watched people jumping to their deaths and news came from other sources, it became vividly clear that this was real. Did the world change that day? I grew up in a London that was terrorised by the IRA - and on occasion at work on Oxford street, would be warned to keep away from the glass windows in our office building. The IRA gave warnings and I think mostly, hit military targets.
9/11 reminded the West that in war, it wasn't just soldiers who died. Was this the first time since Pearl Harbour that Americans had been attacked on their own home soil? The most shocking thing was these were people who were just having ordinary days the same as I was - going to work, having breakfast, doing their day to day. They weren't aware of any war, nor that they were potential targets. And it still doesn't feel like war, it still feels like murder as it did in London 4 years later.
I didn't know any of them, but I know they died and tomorrow I shall be saying a prayer for them and their loved ones.

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