Hmmm. Because Australia is fast becoming another state of the US, I have to disagree that the event didn't permeate our existences. At school, we stopped to watch the news. We had prayers, and so on.
However, because Heathen was written before S11 and bore a doom-laden quality to it (doesn't all Bowie's music?) which paralleled the events, it can be argued that it's coincidence.
Actually, I agrree with you more than before. But to say we didn't empathise (when our Americanised media/culture/govt. gave us little choice) isn't right.
I'm sure the emotions and sensory aspects of the event and it's aftermath were much more real for you than they ever could be with cold little me, and that this memory could be shared by fellow Noo-Yawker Bowie.
Miss Anders... I didn't recognize you with your clothes on.