There has been much recollecting going on today about people’s personal memories of that fateful day five years ago that we now know as 9/11, so for what it’s worth, here are mine. I must say at the start that this was obviously a tragedy for thousands of families and my heart goes out to them, but its impact on me was entirely selfish.
I happened to be at home that dreadful Tuesday. I had booked a week off work because we were meant to be moving house the following Friday, but the sale had fallen through because we were not prepared to pay more than the valuation and the seller appeared unwilling to budge.
I was sat at my PC on the ground floor at the back of our three storey house, the front half acting as my wife’s office. It must have been around 2pm when my nephew, who works for my wife, came in to say that he’d heard on the radio that a light plane had flown into one of twin towers.
We turned on CNN, and later BBC24, as the awful story unfolded before us, moving what was thought to be a terrible accident into the act of terror it became and I don’t have to record that here. It was what followed the day after that is my personal memory.
Still at home and getting changed after a shower, the phone rang in the bedroom and I answered. It was the person we had been looking to buy the house from. He said that he was willing to sell it to us for the valuation figure and I replied I’d have to think about it in the light of recent events.
Whether he had the same worry as me I don’t know: that the attack might cause the stock market to crash and interest rates to climb, but he clearly wanted a quick sale and I wondered, if those things did happen, whether we would be able to afford the mortgage repayments.
I rang the business’s accountant and asked him what he thought the impact would be. He answered straight away that this would not be a problem. Wars are good for the economy apparently, particularly for manufacturers that supply the military, and it was a good time for making investments.
So we went ahead and bought the house where we live now. It is a wonderful family home with lots of space, a large garden and a terrific view and we love it. And its value has shot up over the last five years and the interest rate has remained pretty steady.
The accountant was spot on. But for 9/11 we might never have found our ‘perfect’ home. A selfish consequence as I said and I would swap living here for our old house if it would undo what was done that day, but sadly it won’t.