We were on vacation in Paris ten years ago.
In a toy shop, looking for a souvenir for my nephew.
A customer, with a thick accent, made a comment about a plane in America that hit a building.
Must watch the news before heading out for dinner (for more escargot).
BBC World News.
Video and photos and reports.
Shocking and unreal.
Never left the room that night. Glued to the television screen. Watching in horror.
All flights were cancelled.
It would be a full week from our original ticket date before we got home.
In the meantime, a note of sympathy delivered from the hotel concierge. Locals, who heard our American accent, respectfully commented on our loss.
A stack of flowers grew wider and taller in front of the American Embassy.
We walked there every day to stand and feel the connection.
Airport security at Charles de Gaulle was noticeably different for our departure.
Military presence. Dogs patrolling the area. Onboard we were handed a plastic knife and fork to eat our entrée, with apologies from the flight attendant.
In Dallas, it was eerie. Quiet. The terminal was practically empty as we rushed through additional security before catching a connecting flight. We were back on American soil but nothing felt familiar.
Our memories of 9/11 will always be slightly skewed.
Because of where we were and how we heard.
A national tragedy ever so slightly muted by distance.