My memories of that day involve the South of France. A small town called Hyeres where I was staying with a family who spoke only French.
I had retired in 1999 and having always had a desire to learn to speak the French language properly, I decided to go to school in France and experience total immersion in the language. I enrolled in a school in Hyeres and arranged to stay with a family for the total experience.
Because I was at that time, not very proficient in the language, our conversations were rather short and halting and at the dinner table a French/English dictionary was constantly at my side. There were many pauses while I looked up an unknown word. We, nevertheless, got on very well and they are now my very good friends.
On the day of the attack, my hosts were watching television as I studied in my room. Suddenly, they both appeared at my bedroom door extremely agitated and gestured for me to come watch the television. I did so and saw what appeared to me at the time was a trailer to a film about an attack on the twin towers. I did not understand why they were so upset and they were unable to convey to me what it actually was.
It was not until the next day that the full import of what I had seen finally hit me.
- Henry W. Cross, Bellingham
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