Where were you?

Where were you ten years ago when you heard?

Everyone seems to remember with accuracy where they were and what they were doing ten years ago when America was under attack – they remember when they heard about the planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers in NYC, they were already reeling when the news came about the Pentagon in flames, and people cried from both fear and pride when they heard that an airplane full of people resisted and wouldn’t allow their deaths to be used as a weapon for even more destruction.
My husband and I had the day off and were sleeping in late when my sister called to tell me a plane had crashed into one of the towers – I was already watching the TV news when the second plane hit. Our son made a call home from the local high school to ask if his dad was working that day (he had been working the day before at a WTC venue). My daughter called from college (upstate) to make sure everyone was okay. Of all my memories, hearing the fear and worry in my children’s voices will stay with me forever.
Where will you be today?

Towns and villages around the world will be holding memorial services. House of worship will be saying prayers. The new One World Trade Center and the reflecting pools will be the sight of dignitaries and survivors of the fallen. Periods of silence will be observed and many places will read from a lost of names. Flags will wave and candles will light the night.
Where have you been for the last ten years?
How did September 1, 2001 change you? Have you found a way to honor the memories of those who died with charity, good deeds, compassion, patriotism, and volunteerism? Do you remember to tell your loved ones how you feel every day? And if you are a parent, have you made sure that your kids know they will always be cared for?
Our lives changed ten years ago. Now is the time to remember the innocent victims, the heroes and the families who were torn apart with positive deeds. Yes take time to shed a tear and then show honor for the lives that were lost, gratitude for the heroes that came out, and compassion for our fellow human beings. Volunteer in your community. Smile at a stranger, Thank a soldier, a paramedic, a firefighter and a police officer.
Ten years ago Americans united to show strength, resilience and pride. We flew flags and came together to show we would not be defeated. Let’s show we are still strong and proud, that we respect our country and our people, and that we are caring and committed to doing right.

A Changing World

As I listened to news reports about Bin Laden’s death, tears formed in my eyes as I remembered the horror of a September day nearly ten years ago. Many Americans and others throughout the world felt the emotions once again surface…

I never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.” – Mark Twain. That’s quite a quote and several of us posted such lines on Facebook and other social media sites to help explain the myriad of feelings.

I woke the next morning in a world where the man on the FBI’s Most Wanted List was marked deceased. The lives lost because of Bin Laden and his followers are gone forever leaving only tears behind, but the world is changed once again.

I recently wrote a novel involving a very contemporary issue, the heroine is a Pakistani Muslim immigrant. She is a peaceful, gentle woman. I did a lot of research in writing about this potentially volatile subject. I believe that there is good and bad in every people. I also know there are some who refuse to see past a few and blame an entire group.

In Hyphema, Sudah encounters prejudice because of who she is and where she comes from. There is one scene where she is accused of being “the same”… I’ve thought about how ironic these words seem now.
“Wouldn’t you be used to that?” Donna directed her question at Sudah.

“Donna?” Both Laurie and Trisha were shocked by Donna’s question.

Sudah shrugged. “Why am I used to violence?”

Clucking her tongue, Donna waved off her friends. “Well I figure where you come from…”

“I come from Pakistan. We are not near the Afghanistan border where there are skirmishes. My home is in a little town, it is very nice there.”

“Well you Arabs are always fighting.” Trisha tried to stop Donna, Donna ignored her.

“But I am not Arabic, I am Pakistani.”

Donna snorted. “Same thing.”

Trisha broke in. “Donna I don’t understand why you are being so rude. I am so sorry Sudah.”

“Why are you apologizing?” Donna faced Sudah menacingly. “My older cousin’s fiancé was killed on 9/11…”

“Oh goodness Donna, that was almost ten years ago. Sudah was only a little girl back then.”

“I am very sorry for your loss, but we are very much alike then. My father’s dear friend Jamaal also died on that terrible day.”

“Hmmph. On one of the planes I bet.”

Laurie gasped.

“He was working in a restaurant in New York City. He was very proud and working to bring his family to America. He loved this country and was studying to become a citizen.”

Donna rolled her eyes. “So what happened?”

“He ran to the two buildings after the first plane crashed. The restaurant was across the street. He was trying to help when the second plane came. He was lost in the debris and fire.” Sudah had to pause. “We were very sad that day. I remember when Jamaal’s wife was told her husband was dead. I felt very bad for her.”

“And yet you cover your head like those Arab women who cheered.”

“I cover my head because I am Muslim. It is a sign of respect for my beliefs.”

“Muslim? That’s who attacked us.” Donna snorted. “And they say that Bin Laden lives like a hero in Pakistan.”

“I have not seen him. I do not know where he lives. I would tell authorities where if I knew.” Sudah smiled sweetly and shook her head. “The Islamic people are people of peace. The few who murdered so many and the people who were happy about it are not true believers. They are cowards who hide behind a sign that says ‘I am a Muslim’. They do not speak for most of us.”