20 years on: Havering remembers 9/11 Twin Towers atrocity

September 11, 2001 - New York, New York, U.S. - Smoke billows from the twin towers of the World Trad

On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Havering residents having been sharing stories of where they were when news of the atrocity broke. - Credit: Zuma Press/PA Images

Today marks 20 years since the tragic September 11 attacks took the lives of 2,977 innocent people.

For many, the moment the news broke is one permanently lodged into memory.

Almost everyone remembers what they were doing on that fateful day 20 years ago, when hijacked aeroplanes crashed into the Twin Towers.

On our Facebook page, the Recorder asked the people of Havering to share their stories in the run-up to the 20th anniversary of the atrocity.

Dawn Povey - at work when it happened - initially thought it was "an accident".


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"When the second one hit, we realised. Horrific! Never flown since," said Dawn.

Nicky May wrote: "My husband and I were in The Bahamas on the last day of my honeymoon, watching the planes with American holidaymakers - I was scared to fly home the next day."

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Tiny Guy was working for a large American bank, and "so vividly" remembers reading an email in the aftermath which named all those who had lost their lives. 

Sue Payne first thought she was "delirious" when watching the news, owing to the fact she'd just been sent home from work with a cold.

She wrote: "Then I realised it was real. Truly shocking and a terrible day for the whole world."

Tracey Lazaro had just received the joyous news that she was pregnant. 

Working at Harold Hill Post Office, she'll "never forget" watching the second tower strike on television.

Andy Mehegan was in the delivery suite, awaiting the birth of his son. He said: "Day I will never forget for many reasons."

Linda Smith was working at her florist shop in Gidea Park.

Her immediate reaction was to phone her partner: "In the days before widespread social media, he hadn’t heard the news. Everyone was stunned!"

Thinking about 9/11 "still sends shivers down my spine," Nicola Scott added.

She had just returned from New York that same morning: "I couldn’t believe what I was watching. We had been up the Twin Towers two days before on holiday." 

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