Many older people have commented that they can remember clearly what they were doing the instant they heard that John F. Kennedy was shot. Even my mother can describe the exact moment despite being a Canadian. I always thought this was an exaggeration because of the many years that have passed. Today I can understand, from my own experience, how a single event can cause that kind of impact.

I’d slept in and just got out of bed when Marylou called. Still groggy, I picked up the phone.

Are you watching TV?

No, I just got up.

Turn the TV on.

What channel?

Any channel.

That woke me up. It’s not hard to figure out that something serious is up when someone says such a thing. The screen came to life and the first thing I saw were the blackened smoking tops of the World Trade Centre twin towers. “Holy fuck,” I said, “The World Trade Centre’s on fire?” There was a pause and she replied, “You’re seeing old footage. They’ve collapsed.” At that point it was just too much. I was barely awake and my mind was assaulted with events that I couldn’t even imagine. I’ve been in one of the World Trade Centre towers … I’ve been on the roof … it can’t be gone. But as I was about to see, of course I was wrong.

I’m stunned. I can’t stop watching CNN even though it’s making me feel ill.

Later that afternoon, our Prime Minister issued a statement expressing the sorrow of all Canadians over the tragedy. He also offered any assistance that we could provide, and I hope we’re taken up on it. We might disagree with the US, and even squabble at times, but when it comes right down to it, we’re friends and neighbours. We share your pain and outrage, and stand with you against the animals responsible for this.

Photo ©2001 The Associated Press