I remember the day the Twin Towers tumbled down. It was my fourth period Humanities class. At the time we were reading Karl Marx and Mr. Tietz, the most beloved history teacher on staff, was our teacher. However on this day there was no discussing Communism. The televisions were on in all of the classes. We were all wondering what the hell provoked these people to do this horrific act? The whole thing was something out of a weird nightmare. Here were all these innocent people going about their lives whether they were working in the Towers or on those planes and then bam, it was taken away in an instant.
For the rest of the day all regular sit coms and other programs were cancelled. It was all about the Twin Towers. Even on the radio there was no Britney, no Usher, just more about the Towers. People were angry. Some of my classmates had even left school early because they had loved ones who worked in New York and they wanted to know if they were still alive. It was one of the most terrifying days in American History and I can say I was alive to witness it.
We even had a family friend who’s son died in the plane that crashed into the Twin Towers. His mother had been a librarian and he had attended Annapolis and majored in Engineering. The young man had a wife, a child, and another one on the way. Then some religious extremist took over his plane, took his life and those of many others. From there in school I heard about how Islam was a war like religion and proof came out that these terrorists had attended American flight schools.
For the longest time it seemed everyone was afraid to fly. My cousin, who at the time was at City Ballet, had to travel a lot for her job. Of course my mother was panicked. My cousin assured her the only time you had to worry was if their shoes were clean. That meant that they were getting ready to die.
Of course this sent the country into an anti-Muslim tailspin. It was so sad that a majority had to pay for the sins of a few. At the time I was just as guilty for hating these people who seemed to oppress women, hate America, and use our resources to destroy us. In the area I lived in those “towel heads with bombs strapped to them” made us all want to spit. Soon everyone and their mother had American flags flying high. At first everyone was all for invading Afghanistan and Iraq. It was all in the name of freedom. We were all for the war and in the words of one of my classmates, “Nuking those sand monkeys.”
Years later this disaster has cast a bleak picture on our country. At the present moment, we are starting to pull out troops out of Iraq. Meanwhile, evidence overtime has shown we had no business being there in the first place. Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. Unlike Afghanistan and Iraq, Saddam Hussein had liberated the women of Iraq letting them wear civilian clothing, work, and vote in elections. Abortions were legal and health care was there for all. Yes he killed people who opposed him. But George W. Bush jailed people who opposed him under the Patriot Act? What’s the flipping difference?
I have also gotten to know several persons of the Muslim faith over the years. For the most part they are the farthest thing from terrorists. Rather, the majority of them are peace loving, hardworking, family people who are proud citizens of our country. Much like I, as a Christian, am ashamed of those in my faith who blow up abortion clinics, they share the same sentiment. I count these Muslim men and women as friends. Muhammed, who owns and operates the corner store on my block, reads his Koran every morning to help him have a gracious attitude and positive work ethic on the job. He and his family are not plotting to blow things up. Everyone, children included, are too busy working.
There is much fight about the Mosque at Ground Zero as well. While the placement upsets some because they believe the Muslims are building the Mosque to show they have conquered and it opens wounds, to those people I want to say I understand your pain. I understand why you feel the placement for this is not the best. However, on the same token I know a great many Muslim Americans horrified at the acts of these extremists. Building the Mosque will not dishonor those who perished on 9/11, but rather holding on to the hate and blaming a single religious group will.
Many of the Muslims I have come into contact with and befriended over the years are good family people who would give you the shirt off of their back. Stereotyping them as terrorists is like saying all Jews are thrifty, all blacks are lazy, all Latinos mooch the welfare system, all Asians are bad drivers, all Native Americans are alcoholics. You get my point.
As we look back on this terrible day, take a moment of silence for those who lost their lives. Also remember with all that has happened in the Middle East over the years as well as the bigotry now surrounding the Mosque, these attitudes do not serve the memories of those who perished but tarnish them. Love April