In the supermarket, in the classroom, in the office … September 11 lived from France

Indelible traces, even twenty years later. On September 11, 2001, the attacks perpetrated by al-Qaeda against the towers of the World Trade Center and at the Pentagon plunged the world into terror. A banal day that turns into the unimaginable in the middle of the afternoon in France, at a time when America is waking up. At the time, no smartphone notifications or frantic tweets. It is therefore through the airwaves that many learn the news.

For Nathalie, it’s driving home from college, turning on Fun Radio. “I hear about the event and I realize how important it is… Because it is Arthur, the incarnate jerk, who talks about it! », She tells 20 minutes. Arrived at the house, she turns on the TV “illico”, and sees the first tower collapse. “I’m stunned, flabbergasted until the end. Defenestration, collapse, chaos… The world has changed in front of me. A sentiment shared by Fannie. At this time, she works in a bookstore. And is quickly warned by a neighbor who sells televisions. “The boss came to see us running to tell us what was going on. We all went to his shop. The young woman then looks at the images of the drama “without understanding anything”. A day that will mark her “forever”.

“Everyone was heading for the screens”

TV, in fact, plays a central role in this Black Tuesday. Because if the chains jostle their programs, in certain businesses, in the middle of the afternoon, the shelves of the televisions become rallying points. Present in a supermarket, Geneviève remembers that “everyone was walking in front of the television screens”. The mother telephones her children, imagining that a new world war is brewing. ” I cried. How horrible to see these images and to imagine this human disaster before our eyes. »Distraught, she will not finish her shopping.

On September 11, Romuald remembers it “as if it were yesterday”. He’s at the supermarket too. When he sees the screens in the television department, he thinks it is a disaster movie. “By telling me that it was an impressive scene. It is only when he is about to pay for his purchases that the cashier calls out to him. “Have you seen what’s going on in New York?” It’s awful… ”Romuald quickly makes the connection, but doesn’t know what to say. He then continues his day with his eyes riveted in front of his TV. Like many others. “I was looking at these incredible images on a screen wall,” Freddy recalls soberly. Then he realizes that “more and more people” are by his side. Incredulous, he remained there for three hours “without being able to leave”.

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“The black dots were the people jumping out of the windows”

Many testimonies that we have received are the memories of the children of the time. September 11, 2001, it was a day without cartoons at the end of school, remembers Gwenaëlle, in CM1 that year. She also remembers “information that trickled in” in the media. Dylan learns of the terrorist attack while he is still in class. “Our teacher informed us of the events and turned on the television set. It was a moment of history, according to him, ”recalls the one who was in CE2. “We were so young…”.

Cléo was only 4 years old, but retains some memories of the images. “I was looking at the clouds of smoke… My mother was in a rush. I felt it was serious. »She ends up making Cléo and her older sister leave the living room. “She slammed the door shut. I later learned that it was because she realized that the black dots (near the twin towers) were people jumping out of the windows ”.

“People jumping out of the windows”

These unbearable images, Benjamin remembers them very well. He was then 24 years old. “That day, I was clearly convinced that something serious, profound was happening, which was going to mark a major turning point in the history of the world,” he explains. He is in Paris and works in a recruitment firm. Hearing the news, he and his colleagues rush “to the only Internet-connected PC in the office.” And are all seized by “a strong feeling of anguish. We were helpless spectators of an unimaginable and almost unreal drama that was happening both so far away and so close to us. “

Finding out about the events after her day at college, Valentine feels as though she and her family are preparing for WWIII. “We met at my grandparents’ house and watched the news all evening trying to figure out what we were going through. ”Not to mention the worry of not being able to reach their relatives living near the World Trade Center. Luckily, they were spared. “It was a night of horror…”. Finally, for some, September 11, 2001 remains “engraved for life”, but not only in anguish. “I was at the doctor’s, says Sandrine. I had just learned that I was pregnant after several attempts… On the one hand, I was happy, and on the other, I was sad for all the grieving families ”. .

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