"A day which will live in infamy" for my generation.
I often refrain from making comments about today... as a reflection upon "the day".
Because "The Day" in question holds a mixed bag for me.
I remember coming home in time to see my parents watching TV. The scene seemed right out of a Hollywood disaster flick. Smoke billowing out of a skyscraper. Excited voices on TV. My first thought was "Huh. Wonder what the new movie is going to be about..."
... and then I watched in fascination... as a plane (the second airliner) slammed into the Second Tower.
And then I realised, to my utter horror, that I wasn't watching 'E! Entertainment' but 'CNN'.
This was no disaster flick. This was "real life".
I wish I could erase from my mind and memory those innocents jumping from the burning towers to their sure deaths....
I was traumatised. I was shocked. I was numb. I was angry. I was upset. I was belligerent. I was enraged. I was weeping with hurt and sorrow.
All and once.
I called one of my best friends. I just couldn't bring myself to wish her a Happy Birthday... all I said, with anguish was : "Turn on your TV. CNN. " Then I put the receiver down. I could barely speak.
I've lost close friends to terrorism. I've lost a "brother" fighting that idea and the folks who preach that ideology.
Though I knew no one who lost their lives that tragic day, I was deeply wounded.
The murder of innocents rarely ever makes sense to me.
But, the aftermath of "The Day" has and still affects me today - as I said, "The Day" is a mixed bag to me.
For the first two years following that tragedy, I was careful when I ventured outside. On the way to campus. On the way to the gas station. On the way to the grocery store.
Folks were quick to judge me. Hurl epithets. Rain abuses. Step in my way and threaten bodily harm and worse. "Don't bomb my country!" was a common abuse hurled my way. As were "Sand nigger", "Camel jockey", "Towel head", "Fucking Ayrab", "I'm going to fucking kill you and your Momma you rag head mother fucker"... among others.
I'm not Muslim, heck I don't subscribe to any particular religious denomination (my thoughts and concerns about a god are my private business. As I think is the case with every one else). I'm not of Middle Eastern descent. I don't and have never condoned the killing of innocents - no matter what the cause.
But my 'tanned appearance' was enough to provoke some folks.
I was distraught. I hurt. I was bewildered and at a loss as to what to make of it all.
I was in Oklahoma City when McVeigh hit Alfred P Murrah and slaughtered those hundreds. I was barely in 7th grade... and I went with a friend, to pay my respects to those who lost their lives in that tragedy. No one said a word to me then... rather some folks welcomed me.
That was then. This is now.
This doesn't detract from the horrific tragedy that was September 11, 2001. Just as it doesn't distract from April 19th, 1995.
I mourn the loss of 9/11.
I mourn the loss of 4/19.
Just as I mourn the loss of my "brother".
Rest in peace, all ye who lost your lives as consequence of senseless violence.
May we yet learn to grow out of it all.