I was studying in the US during the contested election of George W Bush as president — an Australian friend and I snuck into the Grand Central Hyatt (obviously before 9/11 security measures) to watch Hillary Clinton ascend the stage as a first-term US senator.

And I was still there when 9/11 befell — watching live on a big-screen in an auditorium in midtown Manhattan as the second tower fell, among US students, some of whom had parents and partners and friends inside the towers...

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