LIZA RAMERYD is Swedish and works in Washington DC, but she has good friends in Stamford Bridge and considers Yorkshire to be her second home. These are her thoughts on the day and its aftermath...

I'M 47 years old and I've worked at the Embassy of Sweden in Washington DC since 1985. I have no family here, they all live in Sweden and that made it very hard to be so far away from them in the aftermath of September 11.

I vividly remember how I first heard the news and I'll never forget it as long as I live. A TV was on very loud close to my office at the embassy and I went out to see what was going on. That was right after the first tower had been hit.

My immediate reaction was that a private plane had hit the building by accident (I'm a private pilot). Then we saw the other tower being hit and realised this was no accident.

I completely froze and simply could not believe it. After the Pentagon was also hit I started to get very uncomfortable and nervous.

When they began to evacuate government buildings around us I think the anxiety level rose in most of us. The plane that crashed in Pennsylvania was apparently destined for the White House and since our embassy is only a few blocks away, it was very unnerving.

Our ambassador immediately called a meeting for the staff and we were told we could leave and go home. Only a skeleton staff was left to deal with whatever might come up. I had to walk home because traffic was at a standstill. The streets were jammed with desperate drivers trying to get home.

Even the sidewalks were packed with people who looked like zombies. It was like being in the middle of a horror movie, an unreal feeling.

When I got home I was frozen in front of the TV for hours. There was of course nothing else on all channels.

When I could not look at the images any longer I went for a walk in an eerily quiet Washington DC. Most restaurants and stores were closed and only helicopters and fighter jets were in the air as all commercial air traffic had been grounded.

Later in the day people were told to stay off the streets. I guess they were afraid something more was going to happen.

I remember sitting by the Potomac River close to my home and looking across the river at the Pentagon on fire and not believing what I was seeing. Helicopters were going back and forth with dead and wounded.

My poor family in Sweden tried to get through to me and I also tried to get through but the whole phone system had collapsed. Finally at about midnight they got through and so did my friend Rob in Scarborough.

They had all been worried sick. I think it was very difficult for them being so far away and watching the news on TV and not knowing. I know my sister was in sheer panic until she got a hold of me.

I'm sure it was different for everybody but for me it took a long time to get back to any semblance of normality. I felt nervous and upset for at least a couple of months.

After that you tried to live your life and go about your business as usual. I don't think people are nervous now on a daily basis but it is always at the back of your mind.

And, of course, the anniversary is very much on everybody's mind.

One major change here in DC since September 11 is that there is increased security. Some streets are even off limits to trucks because they are afraid of truck bombs.

If you visit museums and galleries they go through your bags and some even have metal detectors as they do at the airport. All in all, I think life is as much back to normal as it will ever be, but it'll never be the same.

I'm not afraid to live in DC but I guess you are a little bit more aware. It has not really altered my way of life, I refuse to let it. I even flew to visit my friends in Stamford Bridge in October.

I have to admit I was a little nervous about flying so soon after and our airport here was filled with National Guard with rifles. There was no way I was going to miss out on my yearly visit to Yorkshire.

As a matter of fact, I'm coming back for a visit on September 23! I refuse to give in to terrorists.