The 9/11 Memorial At The US Embassy In London (2001)


On September 11, 2001, we were in London walking back from the British Museum when we saw the newsstands with the horrible pictures of the Twin Towers. We though it was some crazy gossip mags or something before it sunk-in. The people there were amazingly supportive and we all knew this was an attack on the world and all of us. We sat in packed pubs drinking pints and watching CNN all night on the walls that usually would be showing football matches.

I will never forget how many people came up to us to tell us they were ex-pats and now living in the UK. What was really amazing was the outpouring of the sorrow of the English people down around the US Embassy. Here is the location on Google Maps. I was able to take some pictures.


I dug them out of the archives and looked at them this weekend. I am sure this sort of support was in many other countries as well, but I am still struck at how remarkable it was and how much it all made us feel at home with our country mourning the horrendous events of that day even though we were thousands of miles away.

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  • For the first time on a 9/11 since 2001, I didn’t think about where I was that day — until the memories came back with a bit of a jolt just to midnight in the middle of America. Just a day before 9/11 I wandered by the U.S. Embassy in London on a quiet Sunday. It was nothing special to see — kind of cold with a statue of Eisenhower and maybe FDR. Still, it did make me pause long enough to think of the many things the U.S. and the U.K. had been through together.

    When I returned to that spot four days later, this is what it still looked like. Hundreds were lined up to sign a book of condolences. Flowers piled all over, people wiping tears away. And British people I met until my departure on Saturday were very supportive.

    I watched the UK memorial service on television, thinking how strange it was that it was going on just a couple of miles from where my company’s office was then located. (The company has no presence there now.) I’m thinking of those I worked with there, the other guy from our U.S. office who was beginning to be convinced we’d have to return home by way of the Queen Elizabeth II, which was going to be steaming over to Mexico or somewhere else in the Gulf of Mexico.

    9/11. Clear blue skies, simple evil genius taking advantage of a hole-ridden airline security system, thoughts of war against someone somewhere, a sense of dread and uncertainty, a feeling of hope as crowds cheered firefighters heading into their shift at “the pile.”

    I arrived in Chicago just four days after the attacks. One of the first flights back into the country after all flights were grounded for the previous three days. No segments heading to punk towns like mine until certain security measures were put in place, so I made a four-hour trip in about three hours — home in a rental car which I returned at the local airport.

    “Never forget,” said the bumper stickers in the following days. It’s hard to forget even when you put off remembering.