That was very much the case when John F Kennedy died in November 1963, John Lennon in December 1980, and Princess Diana in August 1997, which saw a public outpouring of grief never seen before.
I remember Mrs H ringing me at work on September 11, 2001, to tell me about the first plane hitting the World Trade Centre, before news came out of the other tower being hit. I watched in utter disbelief as these two iconic symbols of the western world were destroyed in front of us, with the loss of thousands of innocent lives.
Thankfully, the only person I personally knew in the Twin Towers, Paul Neal, managed to get out in time, although having spoken to him over the years the memories of that day will never leave him. Another person with Sussex connections, Robert Eaton, sadly didn’t survive, but his memory lives on in the form of the Robert Eaton Memorial Fund (REMF), which has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for youngsters around the world. Life simply has never been the same since, from the resulting conflicts and the loss of life they brought, to the permanent changes in travel security.
It was a flight to America last week which rekindled both the memories of 2001 and highlighted the fact that stupidity has no boundaries. 15 years on, with travel regulations almost second nature, why do some travellers still get annoyed at the security checks about removing belts, shoes and so on? Have these people been living in a cave since 2001? Do they want individuals let on planes without any kind of checks? Clearly not, so maybe they should think before they moan or, better still, visit Ground Zero. Having done it myself, it’s one of those places that gives you the ultimate feeling of perspective.
One thing is sure – all the security at our airports is not only essential, but here to stay. If you don’t like it, don’t travel.
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