Wednesday, 11 September 2019
Statements by Members
New York: September 11 Attack
Every year on September 11, I reflect on the terrible events of that day. I think about the Australians lost and how our world changed. I try not to think too much about what would have happened to me that day if it weren't for a very late cancellation of a work trip to New York which would have had me staying at the Marriott World Trade Center, where I most likely would have been at 8.46 am. There were 2,977 lives lost in those towers, on board those planes and at the Pentagon that day. Ten Australians died.
Amongst the dust and rubble of the Marriott, which was first hit by the South Tower as it collapsed at 9.59 am and then wiped out by the North Tower as it fell at 10.28 am, lay the greatest symbol of our national identity: our Australian flag—damaged and torn but still intact. Detective Patrick McGee from the New York Police Department Emergency Services Unit visited Australia in the 1980s. As he joined in the recovery efforts in the aftermath of the collapse, he recognised the Australian flag buried in the rubble of the Marriott World Trade Center, torn and crumpled. The ashes that forever rest on the Southern Cross are a poignant reminder of those 10 Australian lives that were lost that day. Our symbol of home buried in the rubble of that terrible day in New York, the 9/11 Australian flag, now rests at the Museum of Australia as an enduring reminder of the tragedy we suffered with our ally, partner and friend. (Time expired)