Back in May 2000 I was lucky enough to be part of a school exchange trip to the USA. This video is a look back at our visit to the World Trade Center during that vacation, including some views of the Statue of Liberty at the start.
We visited the South Tower, enjoying the views from the observation room on the 107th floor. It felt incredibly special to be there at the time as it as – yet little did we know how truly lucky we would be to experience those amazing views.
I had previously uploaded this footage on a different channel, but I wanted to move everything over to my blogging channel instead, so I could have everything in one place.
And as it’s the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks (where has that time gone?!), it seems as good a time as any to do a fresh upload. This video is dedicated to the memory of all those who lost their lives on that terrible day, with thoughts to their families, partners, friends, colleagues, etc who still mourn their passing.
You can see more footage from this trip on my holiday playlist.
Thanks for watching! 🙂
Hi everybody. This is a video I shot back in May 2000, or just about the end of April that year, but May was the main time we were there.
We did a school exchange trip over to the United States of America in that year, which was a wonderful experience, and this is some of my footage from that trip. Specifically, apart from the Statue of Liberty which you can see now, the bulk of this video is from the World Trade Center.
The Statue of Liberty itself, which we’re looking at, we didn’t actually go inside. I don’t think it was open that day, or we didn’t have enough time… I can’t remember exactly why. But we didn’t go in there. You’re about to see Ellis Island Museum as well which we did go into, but I have no memorabilia or footage from that either. So it really is just the World Trade Center we’ll be looking at.
We had a school for the blind in America come over to us, which is what had been arranged originally. And then we managed to arrange a return trip as well – which was quite an undertaking for the school, I believe, but it was well worth it. And they have since done it again, my school, and so some of the other students have also got to see views like this.
But obviously the World Trade Center, although there is now another building in its place, there is nothing quite like the original building that we went into. They are, or they certainly were, very impressive structures, and we had no idea at the time just how special and iconic this visit was going to be for us, given what happened just over a year later. It was very shocking for everybody, and it’s since made us all appreciate just how special this trip was.
[Female voice] Are we going up there?
[Male voice] Yeah, might as well, we’re here.
[My voiceover] As you can see there, they’re huge buildings. You really can’t describe how tall they are, but you do feel very small when you’re in front of them, that’s for sure.
And now we’re gonna see the amazing views – there you are – right across New York. I don’t know what that waterway is called, but the number of skyscrapers is just phenomenal, and the distance that you can see is just breathtaking. It’s really, really special. We got quite a good day that day. The weather perhaps could have been a little bit better maybe, but certainly we managed to see quite a fair distance.
[Male voice 1] The Empire State Building only goes up to 102 floors.
[Male voice 2] We’re on the 107th floor.
[My voiceover] Yeah, as my friend says there, we’re on the 107th floor of the South Tower. We did go up the Empire State Building as well, I’ll post my footage of that at some stage too.
The camera I was using was new, specially for this trip. This was what’s called VHS-C, a special, small camcorder version of the video cassette, so you still had to stick a tape inside the camera. Youngsters watching this might not remember VHS so much. But obviously the quality isn’t as good as you get these days, with HD and 4K and all the rest of it. But for the time, this was pretty good.
My filming isn’t great. I am visually impaired, as you’ll know from the other videos on my channel. And if you’re new to my channel – hello! I know this video will probably attract quite a few people who would never otherwise come and look at it. So welcome to my channel, and have a look around at the other videos I’ve done about my disability and things like that if you so wish.
So I was playing around with the zoom feature on the camera and, like I say, it’s not particularly easy filming, but I picked up some pretty good shots I think. And it just emphasises how high up we were, and how small everything else is in relation to where we’re standing so high up really.
I still remember where I was on 9/11 the following year when I heard about this tragedy. I was just waiting to go to university at that point. This was before I started at the end of September, the beginning of October. So I might have been having a lie-in that morning, I can’t quite remember for sure. I’d either just got up or I was having a lie-in.
[Male voice] Anyone who’s scared of heights wouldn’t want to come up here would they?
[Me] They certainly wouldn’t.
[My voiceover] Yeah, certainly not somewhere you’d want to be if you were scared of heights, that’s for sure. Luckily I’m not, which is just as well.
But yeah, as I was saying – I was at home, and my Dad rang from work and told us to put the telly on. So we did, and at that point one plane had hit one of the towers, and we just watched transfixed and with horror as things unfolded. Another plane hit the second tower, and then there was a plane that flew into the Pentagon, and another plane that landed somewhere else I think. It was just unbelievable. It’s like something out of a movie. It was just horrific and tragic.
And the fact that it was now 15 years ago as I record this.. I’m recording this on September 11th 2016… the fact that it was 15 years ago is just incredible. It’s hard to believe that that amount of time has gone by. And the memories of that day are still pretty vivid really. It’s not something you can easily forget. It was a world-changing, horrific event.
And our thoughts to this day go out to all the families and friends and everybody who knew those who lost their lives or were seriously injured. And also tributes have to go to all the rescue workers, who worked so incredibly hard that day. It’s impossible to imagine what they would have gone through, trying to pull survivors out and find all the bodies afterwards. It just defies imagination, the whole thing, really.
It wasn’t a bad camera, that one. There were little transitions it would let you put in between scenes, where it could blur out from one scene and then blur into the next one, but when you watched the video afterwards there was always a little jump in the middle, a little bit of black screen in the middle. So I just edited them out and created a fade instead, so it just looks a little bit better.
I mean, these views are amazing. We were so privileged and lucky to get to see this. And they’re so impressive some of these buildings. The amount of time and labour and money that must have gone into just creating this whole city is just phenomenal, it’s beautiful. And I would love to go back there one day.
New York is a fascinating place, as is all the other places we visited on that trip. As well as going to the Empire State Building we also walked through Times Square at night. That was absolutely gorgeous, I’ll post that at some point as well. We also went to Washington, saw the White House and the Lincoln Memorial and things like that, and the Washington Monument of course. And then we went to the Blue Ridge Mountains and stayed in a youth hostel there, in West Virginia. And then we went on to Kentucky, which is where the school was for the blind, and presumably still is, where we stayed for a week. And that was just brilliant.
On the roof here, the view is even more amazing. Being out there in the fresh air, and just hearing all the noise, feeling the wind on you, and just seeing all round 360 degrees. Just beautiful views of the city and state, it’s just amazing.
I was getting some interference from the camera up here. If you watch the original video I’ve also posted of this footage without me rambling all over it, you’ll hear a sort of buzzing noise from the camera where presumably all the electrics in the building, and especially on the roof up here, were interfering with my camera for whatever reason. But that’s a small price to pay really for getting pictures like these.
So yeah, it was just an incredible experience, and we were so privileged, so fortunate. Even more so with hindsight than we realised at the time. It felt very special then, it feels even more special today. So, this video is in memory of all those who died on the day of 9/11. And I hope you enjoyed watching it. It’s a journey I’ll always treasure, that’s for sure. So, yeah, thank you very much for watching. Bye for now.