Home' The Canberra Times : Chronicle 13.9 Contents THE CHRONICLE, Tuesday, September 13 2011 - 7
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Cal Bruton reflects on September 11
Former Canberra Cannons player and coach Cal Bruton.
Picture: Elesa Lee
WHEN former Canberra Cannons
coach Cal Bruton turned on his
television 10 years ago on Sept-
ember 11, he thought he was watching
"I was at home, living in Perth, and
my family is in New York," he said.
"So I'm sitting there watching TV,
then all of a sudden the bulletin came
across ... I thought it must have been a
movie, then I flicked the channel and it
was coming on all the stations.
"After having that second look I
thought, Jesus Christ, I better call my
She lived in an apartment on the
18th floor with a direct view of the
twin towers of the World Trade Centre.
Bruton woke her with a frantic call
to find out what was going on and
while they talked the second plane hit
the south tower.
It was then that Bruton's aunt
informed him that his cousin was at
work in the centre.
Another frantic call revealed his
cousin hadn't made it to the building
that morning as she'd missed her train.
"That was just ironic because she
was always on time," Bruton said.
"She didn't come out of the subway;
she just turned around and went back.
"That's how close it was."
Sadly his cousin lost a whole floor
of her friends that day, including her
"After that she couldn't deal with it
and left and went to the police force,"
"She really felt she needed to give
Bruton personally didn't lose anyone in
the attacks, but was there for a friend who
struggled after the death of his two
"We used to play together up in
Toowoomba," he said.
"He went straight to New York and he
wanted to help dig ... it was really sad.
"He finally came back later that year
because he had to tell his mum that both
his only brothers didn't survive and ...
'we're not going to find them'.
"[When] he came back he wasn't quite
right, like a lot of people who go through
those sorts of things."
Bruton returned to New York nine
months after the attacks with his partner
when the basketball season in Australia
had finished. He said it was an eerie and
surreal experience to see how badly his
home city had been affected.
"We went up the Empire State Building
and looked down and it looked just
empty," Bruton said.
"I spent a few hours around the trade
centre ... but just seeing a massive hole ...
it was kind of scary."
He started thinking about how he
wanted to live his life after the attacks, and
the next 10 years brought dramatic
The Cannons folded, Bruton went
through a divorce and remarried, and he
also had a complete career change and
now works as a car salesman.
On the 10th anniversary of Sept-
ember 11 he went to Sydney to watch the
Australian basketball team take on New
Zealand. His thoughts weren't far from his
aunt, his cousin and the rest of his family
in New York.
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