- Americans across the world commemorate the passing of ten years since the disaster that shook the nation.
On Sept 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked four airplanes and drilled United Airlines Flight 175 and United Airlines Flight 11 into the World Trade Center Towers in New York, and Flight 77 into the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C. Flight 93 crashed onto a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
And today, Americans the world over remember that disastrous Tuesday morning.
President Barack Obama met top advisers earlier this week to ensure all security measures are taken to guard against any al Qaeda plot timed for the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
“Al Qaeda and others have expressed interest in anniversaries in the past, so we remain ever-vigilant,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.
But he said the White House was not aware of any “specific credible threats” stemming from Sunday’s planned commemorations of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
The Pentagon on Wednesday raised the alert level at U.S. military bases, most of them domestic, ahead of Sept. 11.
Families Of Victims
For the relatives of Betty Ann Ong, they still live in pain and agony over her tragic passing.
Betty was a flight attendant who first alerted ground control about the hijacking of American Airlines Flight 11, one of four that morning.
“One day my sister (another sister) came out for a family get-together. This is about 2 o’clock in the morning and my father’s still sitting out there and looking at the television, and my sister went up to him and asked: “Dad, why are you crying?” And he says: “Because, I’m still wishing Betty would come home, “said Harry Ong, Betty’s older brother.
The parents had to undergo psychotherapy for two years as they were devastated by the death of their daughter. Though it has been ten years since her passing, the family still lives with deep sorrow and regret.
Like this permanently wounded family, thousands of others across America are still suffering from the ten year old wounds.
Muslim Americans Speak Up
Ten years on, Muslim Americans reflect on the struggle their communities face in the U.S. post 9/11.
Jonathan Brewda and Sujana Kahn celebrate their engagement at the Islamic Center at New York University. Brewda, is a recent Muslim convert and he knows being a Muslim in America begs deliberation.
“America is just a type of place where everybody can be who they are and yet still be part of a whole. And I think that, that’s obviously a good thing but it also requires us to constantly think about what that means. Like what does it mean to be Muslim, what does it mean to be American?” said Brewda.
The question is echoed by thousands of Muslim Americans, who watched ten years ago in horror how al Qaeda terrorists slammed planes into New York’s Twin Towers. Among them was native New Yorker, Sulman Afridi.
“I felt a double slap. One as an American for the simple fact of you know, this is my country, this is my home, this is my family, my people that you are doing this to. And then, in the name of my religion on top of that? How could you do something so violent?”
Meanwhile, Ghassan Matli, owner of an oriental pastry shop in Brooklyn for the past 25 years says that non-Muslims in his community have been supportive; and he intends to stay.
“We are here, we live under the American flag, we love this country, this is the last country you can dream about. We are part of it, so we are going nowhere and we want to live here freely and happy.”
The Newseum in Washington, DC meanwhile is holding a special exhibition to mark the event.
The exhibition entitled War on Terror: The FBI’s New Focus displays more than sixty artifacts that the FBI has collected, including engine parts and landing gear from the airliners that crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept 11, 2001.
Photos of 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists that planned the 9/11 attacks and their passport photocopies are also on display.
Hollywood Joins In
On a lighter note, Lady Gaga has lead a team of celebs in a new 9/11 public service announcement.
The 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance initiative was aimed at marking the September 11 anniversary with the single-largest day of volunteer service in the U.S.The goal was to recreate the spirit of unity that existed immediately following the attacks and to honour the victims, heroes and all those who rose in service in response.
- Information Courtesy Reuters