Dundee stood still as a flutter of handkerchiefs bore witness to the well of grief felt thousands of miles from New York.
The City Square came to a virtual standstill 20 years ago.
Flags flew at half-mast during a national day of mourning on September 14 in solidarity with all those who had lost their lives on 9/11.
On the stroke of 11am the hundreds of traffic lights throughout the city switched to red to allow motorists to join the deep quiet of the three minutes’ silence.
People mourned with New York, Washington, DC and the United States as a whole.
This pain was keenly felt in Dundee where banker Derek Sword was among the thousands still missing in New York following the terror attack.
The 29-year-old, originally from Broughty Ferry, was at work on the 89th floor when a hijacked jumbo jet reduced the World Trade Center to a pile of rubble.
On the morning of the attacks, Derek made three calls to his fiancée and one to his parents in Dundee to reassure them that he was fine.
City chaplain the Rev Keith Hall told the assembly: “When life seems one hideous muddle of wrong and injustice, when even God gives every evidence of being callously unheard, the truth is still that God is alive.
“In the face of terrorist atrocities in America causing unfathomable destruction, human pain, incalculable loss of innocent life, that truth is perhaps very hard to swallow.
“Let’s grasp that truth in days of conflict, fear and grief.
“Let us not allow the terrorist to diminish us.”
As the crowd returned to normality, many lined up at the entrance to City Chambers to offer written sympathies in the condolences book.
Derek was squash champion of the New York Athletic Club and, five months later, more than a dozen of his friends flew to London for a special tournament.
The inaugural Derek Sword Trophy Challenge was played on what Alan Thatcher, an English squash journalist and tournament promoter, dubbed World Squash Day.
Derek was engaged to be married at the time of his death and was one of more than 3,000 people killed in the attacks.
Derek’s parents, Irene and David Sword, spent months praying he would be found alive before having to face the inevitable.
“It will be very hard for us to move on because there will always be the constant reminder of what happened,” said David.
“If someone walked down the street and was knocked down you would hear about it for a week, but this will go on forever.
“What has happened will always stay with us.”
First anniversary marked
Derek’s passing was marked by the melancholy notes of the Last Post which echoed around an eerily silent City Square to mark the anniversary of 9/11 in 2002.
The city centre came to a halt to observe a two-minute silence at exactly 1.46pm, the time when the first jet slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
The sombre ceremony began with the assembly of civic dignitaries, led by Lord Provost John Letford, chief officers and elected members, and representatives from the fire, police and ambulance services.
The Reverend Ian Petrie conducted a short service and described the events as the “roots of an unspeakable tragedy” affecting so many families.
He said, from Cambodia’s killing fields to the genocide of Rwanda, the atrocities in New York had set the new benchmark because of the location.
“The World Trade Center, the very hub of world trade; Washington, the capital of the world’s remaining superpower, which, all powerful, is suddenly all too vulnerable.
“Evil flourishes in the fertile soil of anger and there is a rich harvest of anger against us.
“The personal wealth of the wealthy west leaving further and further behind the poor and disadvantaged.”
Rev Petrie then read passages from the Bible before the Last Post sounded and the Flowers of the Forest were piped to a whisper in the quietness of the City Square.
As the service ended, bugler Alastair Drew, of the City of Discovery Brass band, sounded the haunting notes.
Simultaneously, the three flags on the balcony of the City Chambers were lowered by representatives of the police, fire and ambulance services.
The silence and stillness was also observed in works, shops and offices.
Tributes were also held at Dundee Airport and Abertay University.
The Lord Provost, dignitaries and ordinary people crossed to the Garden of Remembrance at the City Churches, where a wreath was laid in memory of Derek.
Mr Letford said: “Our city and its citizens are renowned for their compassion and love for their fellow human beings.
“I think you all now have the opportunity to share this time and we gather to honour the lives lost and remember the families and friends who lost loved ones and whose lives will be changed forever.
“We gather to pay tribute to one of our own, a Dundee lad, Derek Sword, who lost his life at the Twin Towers on that day.”
The wreath contained a personal tribute: “To Derek, a Dundee lad who lost his life on 11 September 2001 at the Twin Towers.
“God Bless you Derek, from the citizens of Dundee.”
Andi Lothian and 9/11
Andi Lothian was among those who fell silent to mark the anniversary in 2002.
The former showbiz agent was now the director of Insights, which he founded in 1993 to bring the potential of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung’s typology to life.
He was co-presenting an Insights Discovery course in Washington, DC to senior members of the US Department of Defence on 9/11.
The night before the course he went to the bar on the base where he was joined for a drink by Dr D Casey Jones, Colonel, who was one of the participants.
Dr Jones recalled: “We engaged in a conversation and soon discovered we were both there for the Insights Discovery course, which was being held on the Walter Reed Campus, near the Pentagon.
“During our conversation, I shared that I played bagpipes and I think that solidified our relationship.
“We finished our whiskies and bid each other goodnight.”
The next day, shortly after the course had started, the group received an announcement that a plane had struck the World Trade Center in New York.
The participants retired from the course and tried to find a television.
By that point, the news was everywhere.
Then, a second plane struck the other Tower, and it was clear this was no accident.
“We stayed and watched and not much later, a third plane struck – hitting the Pentagon, which was just a few miles away from us,” said Dr Jones.
“At that point, those of us who could potentially help, went to the hospital to offer our services.”
Andi said his own words felt insufficient for the gravity of the situation.
He said: “After the delegates left, I realised that each of them was simultaneously occupying multiple roles; not only were they senior US military officers, but they were also medical professionals, and they were human.
“Every delegate, indeed, every person, was deeply affected by the tragic events of 9/11 – and many still are.
“Confined to the base until further notice, and unable to focus on anything other than the unconscious personal compensation for the conscious collective violence, I went outside and started drawing pattern after pattern.
“One might think the noise of the sirens, military aircraft overhead, and terror of the unfolding situation an unlikely oasis for the advancement of Discovery, but for me it was the most powerful inspiration.”
Deeper Discovery, an advanced typology more closely linked to Jung, emerged from the ashes of 9/11.
After a short time, an official approached Andi and advised him the course would continue on 9/12 and he would be the only instructor.
Andi said: “I told her I was a civilian and that I wanted to get home.
“She said, ‘No, you’re a prisoner and you’ll finish the course’.
“Just then, Dr Jones returned to the base and, recalling he played the bagpipes, I suggested he open the session on 9/12 by playing Amazing Grace.
“He was dubious, but I persisted and was able to persuade him.
“Amazing Grace has become iconic for memorialising 91/1 victims, and I believe it was played in that way for the first time by Dr Jones.”