US Embassy plans events to mark 9/11 anniversary

DUBAI — Today marks the fifth anniversary of the terror attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York.

By Robert Flemming

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Published: Mon 11 Sep 2006, 9:10 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 8:21 PM

As the plane crashed into the first of the towers the world looked on in disbelief. The news flashed around the globe like wildfire as the word was passed on by mobile phones and landlines.

Millions watched transfixed as the horror story unfolded on their TV screens. And there must be few people who do not remember where they were on 9 September 2001.

“I was stuck in the subway for an hour when the first tower was hit,” says Captain Frank Pascual, director of the US Central Command’s Media Engagement Team and resident in Dubai.

“My base in New York was just five blocks down from the towers. I got out of the subway as the second tower was hit and had to walk 10 miles to get to our secondary base. Now I guess we just talk about it amongst ourselves. There are a lot of conspiracy theories but there will always be those. Like the ones about Kennedy’s assassination. But we just have to move up and on.”

Khaleej Times caught up with Nick Barclay and his American wife Kelli for their thoughts: “We’ve just watched a docu-movie on 9/11 with the anniversary upon us once more,” says Nick thoughtfully.

“To be honest it was almost more harrowing watching it unfold again than it was back in 2001 when it actually happened. I doubt that any of us will ever forget.”

Another resident, James Fox, recalls both the date and, more recently, the sight of Ground Zero.

“I first heard about it on the radio, got back home and switched on the TV. It just didn’t seem possible that this could be happening. I knew people in New York, had friends who worked there. Fortunately, nobody I knew was hurt in the disaster but that didn’t make it any less traumatic. But now we just talk about it in broad terms. For many people the memories are still just too painful. Visiting Ground Zero, it seemed so strange to see that huge hole in the sky.”

Hilary Olsen-Windecker, the Press attache to the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi, told Khaleej Times last night that once again this year there would be a commemorative ceremony in the city.

Ambassadors and officials from the embassies of those countries who lost citizens in the 9/11 attacks are likely to attend together with officials from the UAE.

Religious Advisor to the Presidential court, Shaikh Sayed Ali Al Hashemi is expected to address the gathering.

“This year the ceremony will be a little different,” said Hilary Olsen-Windecker. “A memorial garden will be planted to commemorate all the victims of terrorist attacks since 9/11.”

She confirmed that no US memorial ceremonies are to take place in Dubai connected with the consular base with the focus being kept in Abu Dhabi.

And no other civil ceremonies by private individuals have been announced. For those who suffered losses on that fateful day, it will be a time of quiet remembrance.

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