Remembering Sept 11, 2001
I can’t believe it has been 15 years since Sept 11, 2001. A day that changed the lives of so many, making the word “Terrorists” a part of our everyday vernacular. The memories are as vivid today as it was that day watching the smoke rising through the sky with the whole City shutting down.
At 8:45 am as I was just getting into work I heard on the Radio that a report of a plane flying into the World Trade Center – Building 1. Being not to far from JFK Airport – we all thought it was a plane about to land, but off course. We immediately put on the television, watching the flames coming out of Building 1; at 9:02 am, we suddenly saw another plane flying just past the Towers and quickly turn and head directly into Building #2 of the World Trade Center. I remember that we just all stood in shock realizing this was more than a plane off course, soon to cause each building turn into a rubble of melted steel, with bodies lying among the ash. This was a direct hit intended to destroy the Financial Buildings of not only NY, but a statement to the World.
Suddenly the word “Terrorists” became a word that was to become a part of our everyday vernacular. Working in the Financial Trade Business at that time, we were deeply effected as so many Stock Broker’s worked in those Buildings. Unfortunately, we knew many that lost their lives that day. Each year as they read the over 3,000+ names of those lost, it still gives me such a sense of loss. In fact, they just read the name of a friend’s husband, whose remains have only recently been identified. So many of the after affects and iconic photos we see each year hold a special memory of that day.
Unfortunately, even today, many look at every Muslim they see as a “terrorist”. In a City like New York, we are a varied mix of cultures. It is not uncommon to see women with their heads covered with a “hajib” (headdress) to protect their modesty. While men walk around in their traditional dress of their white Muslim dress. Two days ago in our small town were three young girls in their traditional Muslim dress with their heads covered; lowering their heads as they were taught not to look at anyone. I think it also reflects their fears (outside their country) that they are different. As they passed my friend and I, my friend and I both gave them a smile letting them know they are accepted for who they are. Surprised at our response to them, they lifted their heads and smiled back. Although many feelings are still raw, we need to be more accepting of those who, while still reading the Qur’an, are just as traumatized from the events of Sept 11 as we are.
Everything in NY shut down – all offices, school, local business closed down. After spending time with my children who were so confused as to what just took place and what it would mean to their lives and future. I went with a friend to the harbor, sitting on top of the rocks (one of my favorite places) we sat frozen in time as we watched the smoke rising through the skies from Manhattan. It is another memory that will always stay with me, as we just sat in silence; for no words could comprehend what we were witnessing.
So I ask that today be a day of reflection not just of September 11, 2011 and the many lives lost; but a reflection of how our World as knew it then, has changed into the World of so many lives lost since then fighting for our Freedom.