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9/11: Remembering it 15 years on

Posted on: September 12, 2016

It does not feel like 15 years since terrorists flew jets into the twin towers in Manhattan.

Video source

I was studying and working in the USA then. Even though I was near the opposite side of the continent, the fear was no different and the changes far-reaching and sweeping.

I can remember vividly where I was and what I was doing. I was in my rented studio apartment getting ready for class. My tiny TV was on and the footage played like a nightmare you could not escape from.

My computer inbox bleeped and I was informed that all classes were cancelled and that everyone should stay at home until further notice. I cycled to campus anyway and when I got there I felt like I was the last person on earth.

I can recall the social and racial kickbacks that happened in the weeks that followed. Fellow graduate students told me their accounts of being harassed and bullied. I told them how someone tried to kill me by running me off the road. All this was because we looked different.

I remember a Sikh store owner who was killed because his assailant could not distinguish him from a Muslim. I also recall a student who made a false report about being attacked because of his race. He did this to get attention.

At ground zero, World Trade Center, New York, in 2006.

Before leaving the USA for home, my wife and I made it a point to visit ground zero. It was five years after the attack and the site was still mostly a very large hole in the ground.

Video source

My son was too young to understand the gravity of that visit. But the photo and videos like these will be an important reminder for us to follow a moment of silence with meaningful conversation about this terrible moment in history.

Never forget. Do not leave important things unsaid.

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