Remembering the day of the 9/11 attacks

A blog post by Ann Chalmers
Chief Executive, Child Bereavement UK

We know from the families we work with that the passage of time alone does not heal, but with support, they can begin to rebuild.

This past weekend marked 20 years since the terrorist attack on 9/11.  On the very day Child Bereavement UK was holding a reunion event, bringing together over 80 professionals who all worked with bereaved families and who had attended a programme of weekend residential courses - ‘Supporting you the professional carer’ - which the Lottery had funded us to provide over the previous three years.

During the course of the afternoon, the dreadful news broke. People were shocked and distressed, and hugely anxious for family members in London who were reportedly being evacuated from buildings in Canary Wharf. Our programme was abandoned but, from somewhere, we found some candles; we lit them and stood in silence together, bewildered and not knowing what was happening. Our world suddenly felt so vulnerable.

Over the years, so many of those people who attended have talked to me at other Child Bereavement UK events about where we all were on that day and how special and supportive it was to be together with people who understood grief so well when this enormous tragedy happened. It was indeed. Human connection can be so powerful, even when there is no sense to be made of what is happening and there are no answers.

I listened to a woman widowed on 9/11 say at the memorial event in New York, ‘20 years feels like an eternity and yet it just feels like yesterday.’

We know from the families we work with that the passage of time alone does not heal, but with support, they can begin to rebuild. As we approach Child Bereavement UK’s 27th birthday later this month, it truly reinforces the importance of the work we and other organisations and professionals do to support families facing the devastation of bereavement, whatever the circumstances.


Remembering all those who died on 9/11.