This will be a bit long, so bear with me.
It was ten after five o'clock (about 11:10 am Eastern)on a beautiful afternoon in Gdansk, Poland when I first got news of the attack. I was on board a new fishing vessel being constructed for Canada, and I was there visiting the country conducting inspections on behalf the Canadian government department I work for. The construction supervisor came up to the owner's representative and I, and asked if we'd heard the news. Of course, having been surrounded by welding machines, hammers and grinders working away furiously, I told him I can't hear myself think, let alone listen to the news. And then he told us what he knew so far.
I was shocked to the point of disbelief. I thought he was pulling my leg. But the look on his face and the tone of his voice told me otherwise. I quickly returned to the office where I was able to use a phone to call my wife at work back in Newfoundland. And unfortunately, and to my complete horror, she was able to confirm most of what I had been told.
Shortly afterwords, we quit work for the day, and returned to our hotel, & during the car ride back, the driver was translating the news reports for us. It was hitting home. Then when I got to the hotel, and saw the first images on the lobby TV, around which a large crowd was gathered, I felt sick.
I returned to my room, where I was glued to the TV set for the next three hours. The only English stations available were MSNBC and BBC Newsworld. But the local Polish stations, as well as German and Italian cable stations were all carrying live reports. Common to all these stations was the utter shock and horror of what had unfolded. The images, the grief, the horror, all were incomprehendable. (They still are)
The effects there in Europe were the same as most of the world over, I guess. Alot of Europeans, especially from Britian, are victims of this travesty as well. While it is definately an attack on America, it's not just that. It's an attack on the western world, at the least, and democracy, in any form at worst. Indeed, up to as many as 100 Canadians are missing at WTC.
This is my first day back in Canada since the incident happened. I must say that through my travels back from Europe yesterday, the crashes are uppermost in everyone's minds, and the topic of conversation with everyone you meet. I can say, however, that it is the most uncomfortable time I have ever felt while travelling. The increased security, the pandimonium at major centres such as London/Heathrow, and above all else, the now helpless feeling you now have when that plane takes off that you never had before. Your life is in the control of others, and anything can happen. Welcome to the new reality of travelling. When the plane finally touched down in St. John's, I felt relieved, as did many on board. the passengers broke out in a brief applause, as most were stranded travellers like myself (I was due home last Friday)
Rest assured, Piano World, that the world is with you, in thought and in mind. I have not had a chance to browse the forum yet to find out if anyone here was affected directly by the loss of a relative or loved one. My sincerest condolances to one and all if such is the case.
I am aghast to say in the same breath "God bless America", and "God help the World". I love my country, Canada, I love my home and my family. But I know, as you do, that we all remain under the increased threat of what lies ahead. The world is no longer the same. The bubble we have been living under in North America that terrorism on a grand scale is someone else's problem was suddenly, horribly, and irrevocably reversed last Tuesday.
Know though, that the world is with you, and an example of that, on a brighter note, is this. Over half of the international flights which were over the north atlantic and Canada at the time of the incident were diverted to Newfoundland. This meant thousands of people converging on airports which don't see 40 flights a week, let alone within nine hours in the same day. St. John's airport had 27, with an insurgance of over 4000 people. Within nine hours of the last aircraft touching down, every person had somehow been accomodated. People were billeted in homes, hotels, convention centres. Volunteers made lunches, provided transportation and basic needs. High schools were closed and converted to hostels. The community really rallied around those who found themselves stranded by the crisis. I just mentioned this because it illustrates in a small way how out of the evil, good imerges, flourishes, and hopefully, prevails.
My message to you I guess is that God knows America, you are owed, but for the sake of the planet, do the right thing.
Jamie Kenny, ('Jamie' or 'Samejame')
Mount Pearl, Newfoundland,
P.S. I almost forgot, but I HAVE to share this with you. On Saturday I visited a piano store (Gama Music)while in Gdansk. I was browsing the store, when a boy of about 12 entered the store with whom I presumed to be his mother, and sat at a Calisia upright, and asked his mother if he could play (at least that's what I think he asked, I don't know Polish)...anyway, she said "Tak" which I know is Polish for yes.
Anyway he was tinkering away, and was obviously well taught, for he was quite accomplished for a kid his age. Then to the suprise of everyone in the store at that time (about 25 people), a familiar tune came out. Not everyone took notice right away, but soon the store fell silent, as the kid played away. I don't know the name of it, but I know it is a well known American patriotic song. He finished, and you could've heard a pin drop. There wasn't a dry eye in the store - several people were crying. It was a moment. The store manager told me afterwords that the child had told him he had learned it from a TV broadcast earlier in the week. Wow!
[ September 18, 2001: Message edited by: Samejame ]
"A cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing" Oscar Wilde.