Saturday, September 11, 2010

We Will Never Forget

This is a re-post from last year. I'm re-posting it because I want to remember that I was supposed to be in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 and I want to acknowledge how close I was to the White House. Had the White House been hit, I probably would have been hurt.

My college roommate almost lost her NYC apartment after the World Trade Center was hit. She knew people who died. She talked about how for months her apartment smell like "dead body". She could have died too.

There seems to be more hatred and intolerance this year than last. To address that, as a person who could have lost a lot on that tragic day, I want to say:
It is not a crime to be Muslim.
In my opinion, Islam is no more responsible for 9-11 than Christianity is responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing. Evil people do evil things not because of their religion but because they are sick.

What I walked away feeling after 9-11 was a great sense of national and international fellowship and community. People pulled together and comforted and supported one another. I hope we can get back to that someday soon.

September 11, 2001 I was staying in a hostel in Washington, DC a few blocks from the White House. I had just graduated from college in June and I was planning on moving to the District (as we locals call it) so I was in town looking for an apartment.

I woke up that morning and went to the breakfast room and was eating Honey Nut Cheerios. The room was empty except for a janitor and me. A radio was on but something else seemed off. The janitor said to me, "The World Trade Center has been bombed." I said, "In New York?" He said yes. At that point, it didn't seem like a big deal. I finished my cheerios.

The rest of the morning and afternoon was a blur. I don't remember how I found out about the Pentagon. At some point the gravity of the situation hit.

I had planned on going on a hostel-organized tour of the Pentagon that morning but decided to sleep in instead.

I had borrowed my mom's cell phone for the trip and the lines were jammed all day. I knew my family would be worried and I wanted to get a hold of them. I wanted to get a hold of my college roommate too. She had just moved back to New York and I knew her apartment had a view of the World Trade Center.

That night I went to a bar in Adams Morgan with a bunch of other kids from the hostel. They were mostly British, Australian, and South African. There was a guy from Chicago there too who kept hitting on me. We talked about how strange everything felt. There were military police officers on almost every corner.

A British girl kept saying she wanted to go home. I didn't feel unsafe. I felt very connected to this group of strangers.

I went on a tour of the White House the next day. I still have never been to the Pentagon.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with your comments on being Muslim, etc. There are bad people all over the world, in all faiths.

    I was fortunate to be in Richmond when it happened...but my company lost several people in the Pentagon. Sigh.


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