Memories of an American Tragedy

It was supposed to be another Tuesday at the computer lab where I worked part time while being a full time student at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. I could not have been more wrong.

There was first confusion. My coworkers told me to try to get on CNN’s web site, because it was not loading and they thought it might be just them. Then I somehow managed to get onto Yahoo’s news page and saw a one sentence news blurb that changed everything in the United States. Witnesses reported seeing a plane flying into one of the Twin Towers. What a horrendous accident, I thought. It wouldn’t be long before we found out that reality was far more sinister as a second plane impacted with the other tower, and a third plane hit the Pentagon — and, of course, the plane brought down by passengers not willing to let their plane be another weapon for a terrorist organization.

Nineteen homicide bombers attacked us on that day. I do not use the term suicide bomber because that focuses more on what they did to themselves as opposed to what they intended to do to others. Osama bin Laden, may G-d wipe his memory from the earth, decided that he had to “teach” the United States a lesson as he so explained from remote caves in Afghanistan over and over, making video and then audio recordings.

There was tragically a lot of misdirected hostility and anger that was aimed at practitioners of the Sikh religion, which is completely unrelated and has nothing to do with Islam. For that matter, the many practitioners of Islam that I have met in my life have all told me that they had nothing to do with the lunacy of the homicide bombers that attacked us. It’s a bit like how we don’t attack Christianity every time the Ku Klux Klan lynches someone.

Today, twelve years after the events of the American Tragedy, we continue to press forward. Bin Laden was caught but the threat from Al Qaeda continues and probably will for years. This isn’t quite a straightforward “looks like we won that war” sort of thing. We must press on — keep calm and carry on, as it were.

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