American Christian Minister and Senior Pastor of the Elim 'Lighthouse' Church in Bicester, Dennis Niziol was due to fly back to the UK when the 9/11 attack happened.

This is his story:

Looking back to that day, 9/11, I remember being in a hotel in Columbus Ohio near the Airport waiting for my flight back to the UK.

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I had been visiting my mother and relatives. My flight would have been taking off in less than five hours.

I was watching the news reports on the television about the first aircraft hitting the first of the twin towers. My thoughts initially were that it was a terrible accident but then in horror I saw the second aircraft hit the second tower. I knew then that this was no accident.

Then horror upon horror, I watched as the first tower collapsed and then the second. The imprint on my mind of a couple holding hands and having to jump from the burning tower will remain with me the rest of my life.

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The news that two other aircraft were hijacked made all this seem surreal. One of those would crash itself avoiding the target of the White House and the other ploughed into the Pentagon. I felt that this was inconceivable as my mind could not take it in.

My flights were cancelled. My thoughts were could I have been on one of those connecting flights if I had booked earlier? In fact the flight path of one of the hijacked jets was overhead. My flights home in the UK were cancelled until further notice.

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I stayed for over a week before I could get another flight. I could feel an atmosphere of confusion and questioning confused from American people I met and I felt that many were disconnected mentally from the tragedy as it was too hard to process.

When I was finally on board my flight, It was strange, eerie and a little bit frightening. It was a 747 and there were fewer than 100 passengers on board as many were to afraid to fly. I knew that the government had decided to put armed US Marshalls on every flight incognito. I was trying to guess which passenger it might have been. After I arrived back to the UK , I found people here were completely astounded and shocked and wanting to show empathy with America and myself.

As an American, I always thought our country was impenetrable to enemy attacks on American soil. I now know I was wrong. My whole concept of global security has changed from that moment on. I have visited places like India, Africa, Poland, Ukraine, Israel and Sweden.

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Some places l would feel more apprehensive to visit than before. That is how things have affected me now. After 20 years, the affects of September 11th, 2001 are no less poignant and have not dissipated as it has changed the whole world.

Nearly 3,000 people died that day. I don’t think I am alone in feeling a bit reluctant in flying and visiting certain nations. Taking a chance and knowing the risks is a part of life now for every human being. In my life, I put it all in the hands of God and pray for wisdom and His leading, living by faith and not by fear.

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