December 22 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, May 24, 2014
A Norwich woman has described the overwhelming moment she discovered her words were being featured in a memorial museum dedicated to the victims of the September 11 terror attacks.
Louisa Griffith-Jones was living in New York at the time of the atrocity and witnessed the scenes after the two aircraft struck the World Trade Center towers.
She recently returned to the city to visit the newly opened 9/11 Memorial Museum and was taken aback to learn that a quote from her experience of the attacks had been etched into the museum wall.
The display was part of a section devoted to telling the stories of those who jumped from the towers.
The inscription reads: “You felt compelled to watch out of respect to them. They were ending their life without a choice and to turn away from them would have been wrong.”
The 47-year-old, who lived and worked just a couple of blocks away from the Twin Towers, said: “It means so much to know I have helped preserve their memory and honour them.
“I didn’t know the quote was going to be there and to see it carved into the wall was a sad and emotional moment. I felt strongly that they not should be forgotten or ignored.
“Watching them was horrific and that part of the day has taken me the longest to come to terms with.”
The attacks - along with the crashing of two more aircraft, into the Pentagon, in Washington DC, and a field in Pennsylvania - resulted in the deaths of almost 3,000 people.
In 2001, Miss Griffith-Jones was part of a production team working on the Animal Precinct programme with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
She was engulfed by dust and debris when one of the towers fell and in November 2009 she returned to New York to donate to the museum the purple flip flops she was wearing on that day, which had a piece of the tower embedded in them.
She also left a 10,000-word audio account of her experiences, from which the inscription is taken.
The museum, which features thousands of artefacts from the atrocity, opened this month. Miss Griffith-Jones, who runs a public relations and communications consultancy, was invited to view it before it opened to the public and said: “In the beginning there were lots of tears but the museum was so respectful and honest about 9/11.”
The trip was made possible thanks to Miss Griffiths-Jones’ friends, who wrote to Virgin Atlantic asking for help with the flight fees.
Using their records, the airline was able to see that Miss Griffith-Jones, who lives in St Thomas Road, had been travelling to and from New York at the time, and the airline heavily discounted the flights, while her friends helped to fund the remainder.
She said: “I’m so, so grateful to the friends who clubbed together for me to go there.
“I’m so glad I got to go during the dedication period as I don’t think I could go and stand next to tourists whose experience would be very different to mine.
“I went to the toilet at one point and that seemed to be where people went to cry and hug in private, away from the main public spaces.
“There was a mutual respect between everybody when we looked at each other because we had all had that experience.”