top of page

I remember exactly where I was when 9/11 happened

Lisa Sygutek

Sept 13, 2023

Moments in life when you remember exactly where you were.

Do you have those moments in life when you remember exactly where you were, like when someone famous passed away?

I have had a few of those moments and when reflecting I find it interesting who sticks in my mind as having impacted my life.

The first famous person I remember was Princess Diana. I was 25 years old, and I was at my Aunty Donna’s house with my mom having a visit and a coffee. Perhaps it’s because I was that little girl buying the magazines about a beautiful princess marrying her prince. Perhaps it’s because aspects of her personality resonated with me. I am a huge believer that I have been given a privileged life with beautiful children, a nice home and safety. My mother, on the other hand, didn’t have the same upbringing. She was dirt poor growing up in this community, a community in which many would not associate themselves with her. She was ‘that’ person, from ‘that’ family. As a result, I feel it’s my responsibility to look out for the most vulnerable in our community and I fight vigorously for them.

The second person I remember is Michael Jackson. I was here at the Pass Herald. It was a Thursday in June 2009. I was doing my month end accounting and listening to the news. 

I remember exactly where I was when 9/11 happened. Keiran was three years old and he was a terrible sleeper. I remember waking up to my phone ringing, Keiran tucked into my side, when my mom told me to turn on the news. I turned it on and held that baby all the closer, knowing the world as I knew it would never be the same. 

As I write this today, September 11, I remember. I remember the planes, I remember the people jumping to their deaths rather than burning to death, I remember thinking that my Keiran won’t know the world before that fateful day. I hope we all remember, because to remember is to never forget. 

In this era of cancel culture, I worry that we are essentially erasing history. We are erasing the people who did unacceptable things in a time when their actions were acceptable. 

Prime Minister John A. MacDonald was the architect of the residential school system. It was the government’s effort to settle what is now Western Canada, along with signed treaties and policies that aimed at removing Indigenous people from their land and opening up western territories to non-Indigenous settlers.

MacDonald also set wide-ranging policies that continue to influence our country today. He helped unite the British North American colonies in Confederation and was a key figure in the writing of the British North America Act; the foundation of Canada’s Constitution. He oversaw the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and the addition of Manitoba, the North-West Territories, British Columbia, and Prince Edward Island into Confederation.

When you look at a statue of him, what you should see, in my opinion, is a leader of the times both good and bad and to remember both reminds us of how far this great nation has progressed.

Instead of toppling statues of MacDonald perhaps we should keep them along with an explanation of how he both hurt and helped the people of this nation. Without his accomplishments there would be no Canada today and we are far more aware of indigenous crimes in the history of this country. Without recognition we are doomed to repeat history.

So as I write this I think of life before 9/11 where things were simple and I was a lot less scared. 

As we enter into our second year of war between Russia and Ukraine I worry about the future for my boys as the world becomes more volatile and uncertain. 

bottom of page