Today, September 11th marks the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New York.
On September 11, 2001, at 8:45 a.m. on a clear Tuesday morning, an American Airlines Boeing 767 loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.
Nineteen al-Qaeda militants targeted the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon with the result that almost 3,000 died, including many Canadians. Both World Trade Centre towers entirely collapsed in 102 minutes and the results were felt around the world, including Canada.
In Ontario, a team of 12 police offered its services known as Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance (POPPA) and, close to home, retired Saugeen Shores police officer, Doug Lein, remembers it well.
“There were also two police constables from Owen Sound who were on the team.”
“Every anniversary of 9/11 is still a very emotional time.”
“We were there to provide critical and stress counselling and debriefing to New York Police Department (NYPD) officers. We were head-quartered on the 13th floor of the Federal Reserve Bank and worked in several locations, including St. Paul’s Cathedral next to ground zero.”
One of the most emotional moments, according to Lein, was in the ‘memorial tent area’. “There were flowers and photos along with messages asking where loved ones were.”
“The entire time we were there was very moving,” added Lein. “We also received a wonderful welcome and treatment the whole time.”
Each of the team members signed their name on a Canadian flag that was hung in the NYPD office at the Reserve Bank.
Today, September 11th is known as ‘Patriot Day’ and, where the twin towers once stood is an eight-acre park that consists of two reflecting pools with waterfalls designed by Michael Ara and that as known as Reflecting Absence. At “Reflecting Absence”, the names of all 2,983 victims are engraved on 152 bronze panels surrounding the pools.