One day in November 1974, five years before I was even a glean in my father's eye, my uncles and their friends had organised to meet in a pub in central Birmingham, this was when they were young men, more innocent then they are now! They were getting ready to go, when another friend asked them to come and play some football before they went in to town, and being sporty as well as boozy they accepted.
At 20:27 when they should have been in the pub, they were kicking about a ball, at the same time as their friends supped their pints at the Tavern, a bomb exploded killing 11 people in that pub(another bomb exploded in a pub around the corner 2 minutes earlier killing 10)
Some of their friends died and others were paralysed.
I recall one of my uncles telling me about a friend of his that was at the Tavern when the bomb exploded, he was paralysed and is now a vegetable in a home, his doting mother by his side day after day.
This uncle is a firm friend now, and the thought that the IRA could have robbed me of my uncle before I was born is scary!
We are an Irish family, so were most of the people in those pubs on that night, strange that the so called 'Irish Republican Army' would target those it claims to be 'fighting' for!
It has always pissed me off that some in the 'Irish American communities' in the US supported the IRA, it would anger me when some idiot 'Irish American' would come over to Ireland and indulge in gratuitous and ignorant slurs against England and great sweeping generalisations about MY country's history, justifying murder that the IRA committed against what they must assume are 'non Irish Unionists' and 'British bastards' etc...
It galled me to see Clinton allow Gerry Adams into the US, not only to give speached, but to raise funds????!!!!
These people funded 30 years of murder and mayhem in Ireland and England in a misguided belief that they were doing good!
On September 11th 2001, I was at work, I heard first that a plane had crashed into the WTC, at first I thought, tragic plane crash, then I heard two planes had crashed, I was puzzled, then someone said that both towers had been hit by two different planes.
My first thought was Al'Qaida and Bin Laden, yes I have always been an anorak, I also recalled a tiny article I had read in the papers in July 2001 that said security was being raised in American facilities around the world in response to increased terrorist threats.
When I heard the towers had collapsed and had seen the images, I was in shock, I wept that day, wept in grief and anger and fear.
Those images effected me more then similar images from China or Africa could have, it effected me because when all is said and done, Americans are my kith and kin, they are my blood cousins, my extended family if you will, we are a part of the same world, the Anglo-Celtic world, 9/11 was an attack on us all, an attack on me.
I was overcome.
On Thursday 13th September, someone I knew asked, "What should we do?" to which I replied "Invade Afghanistan, kill the Taliban, Al'Qaida and Bin Laden, then we need to invade Iraq and kill Saddam, then we need to take care of Iran and Syria"
I still stand by those words, and the main thing I am thankful for that came from 9/11 is that America woke up to what terrorism actually is, it is not sexy, it is not cool nor romantic, it is wicked.
This is how I wanted us to deal with the IRA, I wanted the UK and Ireland to hunt them down and kill them, they knew their names, they knew where they lived! We were too soft, now the IRA is part of the government in Northern Ireland and is a potential coalition party in the South(Sinn Fein is also communist, they appeal to the criminal class, you know the ones who never pay taxes but expect the rest of us to pay for their lifestyle choices)
I know lots of people say 9/11 changed them, it actually annoys me when I know that all it did was change their viewing habits for 20 minutes, but it actually did change me.
9/11 spured me on to change my job, to something I thought could actually make a difference to this 'new war', it changed my social life, I studied Islam and woke up to the danger of non European migration to Europe.
Last year I was at Tavistock Square, this 'war' came right up to me, close and personal.
Many things have changed, remember 9/11, but do not forget why they attacked us, remember their motives.