Today has been a solemn one full of thoughts for those directly affected by the devastating terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in NYC that took place 10 years ago.
Few can fail to remember where they were when the news of the first aeroplane striking the North Tower. I was in my office at Agency.com in Crinan Street preparing for a pitch with a number of my colleagues from New York.
The images were so confusing that I didn’t know what to make of them at first. It had to be an accident, but how could a pilot accidentally crash into one of NYC’s greatest landmarks?
When the second plane hit the South Tower just over 17 minutes later, it was obvious that this was no accident and a wave of shock rippled through the office; people were genuinely speechless.
Today, 10 years on, the world has changed forever and the moving tributes remind us of how much this terrorist attack has shaped the world – leading to two wars, countless lives lost and a loss of innocence.
Many things impressed me about the dignified nature of the memorials around the world, and something in particular made me think:
This afternoon in London, I was amazed to see a group of Islamic Extremists burning the Stars & Stripes during the 9/11 memorial in Grosvenor Square, taking advantage of the very freedom of speech that they would happily deny others.
At first it made me angry as it reminded me that not everyone is united in grief, and that there are some very unpleasant people out there, but then it was also a reminder how tolerant our society is to rightly allow them their freedom of expression, no matter how distasteful.
Our protection of the right to free speech is one of the things that makes our society so great, and the terrorists clearly failed in their attempt to undermine that.
God bless America , God bless the United Kingdom and God bless those who died in the attack, and as a result of the devastation.