Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering 911

During my 6 years of studies in New York, I'd witnessed history made in the United States. I was around during the huge baseball world series, I had been around during the controversial Gore-Bush elections, and then of course 911. It was a chilling day around campus with TV screens all over showing news channels playing the scenes of 2 airplanes crashing into the World Trade Centre towers.

I remember where I was that fateful morning of September 11, 2001. I was jogging in Eisenhower Park with a friend of mine and had no idea what had happened. Back in my dorm room, I got a phone call from my aunt to check whether I was okay. I asked her why she would call so early in the morning from her office and she told me to switch the TV on. I could not believe what I was seeing and hearing. Immedietely I got the fright of my life upon hearing that domestic carriers crashed into the towers because my mom was bound that morning to New York from L.A.

Frantically, I went to work and saw a never-ending fog of deadly black smoke hover over the sky. My boss at work already started telling me that I was gonna face problems from now on whenever I travel back home, and then she asked me, "So do you think Osama Bin Laden did it?" I didn't know what the hell to say although went along with the stares of the rest of the people in the office and unconsciously said, "Yea who else could it be". Anyway, my mind was on reaching my mom and I called her countless times only to receive dead phone lines for the next 4 hours.

With the grace of God I got through to her and she told me that her flight never took off, and she was stuck at LAX. I advised her to stay on in L.A. for another week at my uncle's house and that it would be wise not to take any more chances. By the end of that day, I could not fathom it if my mom was in one of those planes and had a post-traumatic panic attack which subsided only though grateful thanks to whoever or whatever kept me and my mom alive.

911 rocked the earth and affected every life. I heard that a lot of our interns died that day and can't imagine how those people jumped off the tower to avoid being burned alive. America changed forever as we now talk about pre and post 911. From different people and organizations having a different view on what should be done to Ground Zero, to Mayor Giuliani turning from police force monster to city hero, the change was not only enormous but it was instantaneous. Organizations had to answer questions regarding the security of their employees, the FBI was no longer the intelligent agency it is supposed to be, and the Muslim community was subject to more prejudice and scrutiny than they had ever faced before. Individuals started questioning their beliefs, their values, their patriotism, and their security.

The sad but true fact is that we all start questioning ourselves only when there is significant harm done to us. Before another 911 heaven forbid, do what makes you happy right now and realize your potential today before you leave it for a tomorrow that may never be.

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