On Sunday evening I watched ‘102 Minutes That Changed America’. It was a minute by minute account of 9/11 entirely filmed by people who were there, people who were a part of it.
9/11 is forever ingrained in all of our heads. We’ll never forget that life changing day. For some, for far too many people, their lives were changed forever. The amount of people who were in those buildings is just staggering. It’s hard to comprehend and imagine, but it’s still incredibly sad, and each and every year we think about those tragic lives that were lost, those heroes who tried to help, and those who lost loved ones and who’s lives were for forever changed.
Fifteen years ago when the twin towers were hit I was in my sixth form common room, staring in disbelief at the small television in the corner, struggling to believe this was real and really happening as I sat around with my friends and classmates. School finished at 3.15pm but we all sat there staring until after five. Then we went home and stared some more.
On Sunday night I watched this horrific series of events with tears pouring down my face over and over again. The programme was 102 minutes long – with very regular breaks and therefore adverts. Adverts for makeup, hair products and lots of other things that don’t really matter. Especially in comparison to what we were watching.
I complained on Twitter about how inappropriate the ads were and I just kept thinking – how can we go from someone witnessing a person holding a flag falling out of one of the towers, to an advert for L’oreal.
How? Just how.
Every time the adverts came on I was snapped back to reality. That I was sat back in my house, perfectly safe and watching a programme about the 9/11 attacks. However devastating and horrific it was for me to watch, I wasn’t personally affected by the Twin Towers attacks – of course it affected me, like everyone else watching that day, and it still does – but I didn’t know anyone there and I was far, far away.
I know that’s just life, and instead of feeling like we shouldn’t be feeling so distraught about these awful things that happen in our world, we need to realise that it’s okay to feel this way. That it’s okay to feel fucking awful about something that has happened; to question life, to question people, but still be really fucking grateful that we weren’t involved or personally affected by it.
Maybe as some of the lucky ones, that generally have a good life; who have roofs over their heads and people that love us, even if life isn’t perfect – maybe we need these heartless irrelevant adverts, just to take us away from the harsh reality of tragic events like these. So that we don’t dwell on these things that we have witnessed that words cannot even describe, so that we can keep going and make the most of our own lives.
Life can be scary, and terrible and devastating – but it can also be wonderful too.