On this day: Fire at the WTC

This photograph was taken on the 26th of September, 2001. Firefighters struggle to extinguish fires at the site of the collapsed World Trade Center in New York more than two weeks after the terror attack.

By Mike Rieger/FEMA News Photo

Terrorist Attack

September 11

New York Fire Department McSorley’s September 11 2009 Sonya Heaney.

(Apologies for the pictures – we weren’t trying to win photography awards here!)

In 2009, when we were in New York, we went to visit the Ukrainian district of Manhattan. There’s a shop, a museum, a church, and a famous restaurant that is in all the guidebooks.

However, what we didn’t know until we got there was that the pub next door to the shop – McSorley’s – is the place the New York firefighters gather on September 11, because of some story about a fireman killed that horrible day who said he’d meet everyone there.

So we dropped by for a drink, only to find all these men and women who were involved in the horror of the Twin Towers collapse there. The pub stops usual functioning that day and just stocks the top of the bar with glasses of beer.

We were the only non-US fire-fighting, military people there. Three Australians versus a pub full (literally pressed up against them!) of GIANT men in uniform. Whoops!

I have never met such friendly people, who flat out refused to let us buy a drink. We said we should leave because we didn’t belong there, but they just kept on insisting they were honoured to have us there.

It was still a bit odd, but wow, what an afternoon.

I had met my parents in New York in the middle of their North American trip, and had two weeks there on my own, and there was my Vietnam Veteran father, and boy, didn’t he win some admiration! Not like the reception Vietnam Vets get here!

New York Fire Department McSorley’s September 11 2009 Sonya Heaney. And Ukrainian Mudeum.

The parade, with Ukrainian building in the background.

Then after the drinks, everyone went outside and had a small parade with bagpipes, to honour their dead.

It is one of those travel memories that will always stay with you.

Yes, I know this post is dated the 12th! But we’re a day ahead of the US in time zones here…

On this day: American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in 2001

American Airlines Flight 587

On the 12th of November, 2001 American Airlines Flight 587 crashed just after take-off. Leaving from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, it went down in Queens, killing all 260 people on board, killing five more on the ground and injuring another.


American Airlines Flight 587 just before take-off.

The timestamp is one hour off.

Though the crash was not a terrorist attack, it occurred only two months and one day after the September 11 attacks, and so of course the immediate assumption was that it was linked. New York was once again shut down – albeit temporarily – as an investigation began.