Life in the Bus Lane: Our Silence Is Golden

Article excerpt

Byline: Martin Wells

AT 1.46 this afternoon, like many offices around the world, we were holding a minute's silence to remember the victims of the September 11 terror attacks.

When it was announced yesterday, it was greeted almost with relief, as if we had a legitimate way to express our feelings.

This was only to be expected. We may have all become hardened to the human cost of the tragedies we report every day, protected by an cynical carapace, but the events of a year ago, unfolding on the screens in front of us that afternoon, shocked everyone without exception.

Out of the blue last week, my youngest son asked me what was the most momentous event I'd witnessed in my lifetime.

I had no hesitation telling him that, short of a world war or a nuclear attack, none of us would - hopefully - ever see anything like the Twin Towers tragedy again.

The moon landings, Churchill's funeral, the Royal Wedding and the death of Diana don't really come close to the shock and magnitude of that dark day.

As it unfolded, the professional instinct to report, to get an Echo out onto the streets that afternoon, was temporarily submerged by what can only be described as shock.

Everyone in the newsroom felt the same that day and the resulting special edition was the product more of a delayed gut reaction than any measured, detached response.

From a personal point of view, it was good that we could still be moved by world events. We were reminded that we still had the capacity to feel genuine emotions and in the days that followed, the subdued mood indicated an aftershock that remains, to some extent, to this day. …