I was at a lunch with the Motorola EMEA Board in The Strand when Anna, who ran my office in Parliament, paged me to tell me I ought to try and see a television screen immediately. I made an excuse found a set in the hotel only to see the one of the Twin Towers in smoke. Within half an hour I was back at my desk watching the second plane hit the second tower. You had to pinch yourself as it seemed like a scene from a movie not a real live event.
At Westminster, we were then put on the most severe alert and told to go home if we could. Our secrets services were worried lest Parliament became a target.
The consequences of 9.11 still reverberate around the world - especially in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, London, Madrid and elsewhere. It may have brought some closure on the old cold war but in its place was a war against an enemy without nationhood: a global terrorist movement funded by North Korea, Iran and maybe some other Arab countries.
Our reaction to 9.11 has made the world a less safe place.
Nothwithstanding Iraq and Afghanistan, today in America and in the UK (and elsewhere) families affected by the four plane crashes have attended very moving services.
In the UK, Radio 4 started the day with a service at 0810 from the Grosvenor Chapel and this afternoon, HRH Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall alongside the PM and other lesser dignitaries, attended the laying of white roses for those Brits who died on that day in America. It was hard not to reach for the tissues at regular intervals.
I have framed two photographs side by side of the Twin Towers taken on 18th June 1974 - they were dedicated in early 1973 - and another on 11th September 2001 (both taken I think by Stuart Ramson).
I also have two photographic books one by Reuters entitled September 11: A Testimony and another entitled Here is New York and I have been looking at them again today.
I guess had Al Gore officially won the 2000 Presidential election the world might be a safer place. Maybe not but we would have avoided the thousands and thousands of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.