I say the same thing every year.
"I can't believe it's been a year..."
"I can't believe it's been 5 years..."
"I can't believe it's been 12 years!"
Because to me, it still feels like it could have been yesterday. I was 20 at the time and working in the City of London for an insurance company. For the first hour of that Tuesday, just after lunchtime (I'd just eaten a particularly tasty tuna baguette), there was talk of a light aircraft hitting the World Trade Centre.
It's pretty embarrassing in hindsight but at the time I didn't really know what building The World Trade Centre was. Of course I recognised the famous New York skyline but I didn't know anything about those two huge towers or what happened in there (and I know I wasn't the only one!).
The next thing I knew, I was standing in the office conference room where they had set up a projector screen, watching one of those towers crash to the ground. I remember one of the secretaries running out the room hysterical. We couldn't believe what we were seeing.
There was talk: is London next? Are we safe here??
I vividly remember a news anchor on Sky News announcing "...and we've just heard that Canary Wharf has been hija...evacuated". Yes, ladies and gentlemen, she accidentally started to say 'hijacked'! As if we needed that!
Back at my desk, my colleague Alex got off the phone to his sister and said that there were rumours there was a plane heading towards London. All planes were supposed to have been grounded. I think it was at that stage that our boss let us leave a little early. I recall the relief as the train pulled out of Fenchurch Street and headed home, back to Essex.
That night, myself and my Mum watched the news hour upon hour. Account after account, story after story, loss after loss. The tragic death toll and devastation just incomprehensible. Twelve years on and it's still incomprehensible to me. Last week I watched a documentary on Channel 4 joining together hundreds of pieces of amateur footage taken on that day. My heart thumped as I watched, as if it was happening all over. I don't think I will ever quite believe it.
My thoughts remain with all those who suffered directly from that day. I can't imagine how hard it must have been.