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Low-keyed 9/11 observance at US Embassy

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

There was a low-keyed observance of the disastrous events September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, at the US Embassy in Port-of-Spain.

The United States flag outside the embassy flew at half-staff in keeping with a proclamation from President Donald Trump and staffers observed a minute of silence at 8.46 am, the time when the first terrorist-piloted plane slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center 16 years ago.

Embassy officials said other than that no other activity was planned.

In the US itself, hundreds of family members, survivors, rescuers and officials gathered at the World Trade Center for a ceremony that began with a moment of silence and tolling bells.

Relatives read out the names of the nearly 3,000 people killed when terrorist-piloted planes hit the twin towers of the center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field, hurling America into a new consciousness of the threat of global terrorism.

Many of the 3,000 people who died that day were immigrants who were living the American dream.

Among them were 14 Trinidadians who worked at the two collapsed towers. Their ages ranged from 28 to 59, all of them had gone to work at the World Trade Center. They are: Conrad Cottoy, Rena Sam-Dinoo, Glenroy Neblett, Winston Arthur Grant, Clara Hinds, Stephen Joseph, Paula Morales, Jerome Nedd, Oscar Nesbitt, Anthony Portillo, Vishnoo Ramsaroop, Goumatie Thackurdeen, Boyie Mohammed and Joan Francis.

A Trinidadian woman, who asked only to be identified as Natalie, said yesterday she had a lot to be “thankful” for.

At the time of the terrorist attack 16 years ago, Natalie was employed at the Empire Blue Cross-Blue Shield in the North Tower. On the morning of the terrorist attack, she said she experienced “an inexplicable delay, which saved my life.”

As she was rushing to leave home for work, Natalie said she got a call from a friend who worked on Canal Street telling her that “two planes had crashed into the two towers of the World Trade Center and they collapsed.”

After turning on the TV, she recalled: “I started screaming and crying. I felt a sense of terror, shock and disbelief.”

She added: “I cried for months for those who died and for God’s grace in my life.”