Posted by Richard Rawlinson
Do you remember what you were doing on 9/11/2001? I was visiting the offices of BSkyB in London, discussing media issues in a meeting room that had a TV screen on a wall showing Sky News with the volume down. Our conversation came to an abrupt halt as we became aware of something terrible unfold—virtually live footage of the first plane to hit the first tower in New York. As it became clear this was a terrorist attack, a Sky executive lined me up to interview the TV news anchor about the challenges of responding on air to a rolling news atrocity. It felt opportunist when the loss of thousands of innocent people was just sinking in.
As for learning of Princess Diana’s death on 13 August 1997, I recall being woken before 6am on a weekend morning by a phone call from a friend who had been out clubbing all night. On leaving the club, no doubt on a drug come-down, he heard the news circulating among numbed strangers in the streets. He headed to Buckingham Palace to witness the first people laying down bouquets of flowers at the railings. He felt part of something significant and tragic and felt compelled to phone friends to share the shocking news. I turned on the TV and watched in a dressing gown before deciding it was time to shower and hit the streets myself.
Yesterday, I was talking to American photographer Gary Dunkin, who reminded me of these death milestones. I wasn’t aware he’d captured 9/11 moments until he directed me to his website. He couldn’t bring himself to sell any of them though.
You can see them here.