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9/11 – A Foreign Perspective (by Peter Brock)

We can all remember what we were doing and where we were when the events of 9/11/01 took place. My family and I were in the midst of preparing a new (to us) house to move into in the town of Giaveno, Italy. We had moved to Giaveno to begin a new church plant and my father had come from PA to help us with the move and prepare the house. Also visiting us at the time were two young men from our home church in PA that brought with them some tremendous skills to help with the transition into the house.

It was a getting toward 3:30 in the afternoon Italian time and my father and I were busy laying carpet in the upstairs of the house. It was about then when my wife Lisa called with news of the attack. She had been called by a colleague of ours and who had made her aware of the news. I remember her words to me,” the Twin Towers fell down”. I was sure that she was confused and had misunderstood. In was unfathomable. In fact, we continued to lay the carpet because we hadn’t understood the full meaning of the attack.

After several more phone calls, it became a bit clearer what had taken place and we headed to our colleagues home to watch the feed from CNN that the Italian TV stations were carrying. Our reaction was, I’m sure, the same as most people. However, being such a great distance away, it had taken on a surreal quality. However, over time, the scope of what had happened began to sink in.

The week after the attack, the local paper approached me and asked for an interview as they wanted to get the reaction to the attack from an American. My father and I were able to sit down for a lengthy interview and share our thoughts and emotions regarding the attack. I have a copy of the paper tucked away in a memories box.

Perhaps the most emotion we felt after the attack, took place a few days later. The country of Italy declared a moment of silence for the victims of that day. At the time of the attacks, Italian time, the entire country stopped it’s activity and fell silent. Lisa was in a grocery store at the time and was moved by the display of respect. Over the following weeks, many Italians approached us and shared their sympathies with us as a nation.

For me, as for all who remember it, the day now known simply as 9/11, will forever be etched in our minds.

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