Where was I on 09/11/01?
I was at work just like most Americans on 9/11 probably feeling sorry for myself for being so far away from my husband on our 3rd wedding anniversary. I was on the computer working batch specialist work for At&t customer service in Tulsa, Oklahoma when my supervisor CB walked in the room and said, “The Islamic world has attacked America”. I immediately turned around and asked, “Which country”? It was confusing I didn’t know what was happening and who was attacking who? After a little bit discussion she sent me out for something and closed the doors behind. When I returned everyone was extra nice to me. One girl asked me how old my son was and that she was going to come over for his birthday since I had invited them over a few days ago.
Almost everyone had stopped working and all were watching TV. I saw the clips showing world trade center coming down. There were estimates of up to 50,000 people being affected. I lived in Broken Arrow with my two small kids, my mother and my 15 year old brother at that time. I called my mother and told her what was going on and to call all family members and ask them to come home and stay put.
I got home in the evening and went to Walmart to buy grocery. I noticed all were looking at me. People were just trying to be more careful and nice. Everyone in the family left their places and came to my home in Tulsa. My brother in law had to quit his job and stay with us for a while since his other friend got beat up so bad in North Tulsa that he required oral surgeons to fix his face. He received all treatment for free. It was in the local newspapers for weeks. People sent him cards and flowers condemning the hatred led actions responsible for his injuries. My brother brought his guns and put them in the closet. He also displayed his Marine service flag outside the house. I got paid by the hour and had to keep working despite of being under pressure at work since there were talks about shooting down foreigners. There wouldn’t be a paycheck for the house mortgage or the car payment if I didn’t show up for work. The security guard watched over me for days and had to accompany me to lunch. I had to go to work not only to support myself and my family but to reach 125% of the poverty line to sponsor my husband. He still lived in Pakistan and called me every night. He said in a low voice that no one will ever be given a visa to the US because of what had happened. I again reassured him not knowing anything about the future myself. It had become a theme of our lives those days to keep reassuring each other that some day our lives will be better and we will be together again.
Few days later some people tried to break into the house when my brother and few months old daughter were home alone. My 15 year old brother was terrified. He rushed to the closet, pulled the gun out and waved it. The guys who were then banging at the door from the backyard ran away. Who knows who they were and what they wanted. This also appeared in the Newspaper. When the policeman neighbor across the street read it he came to my house and said to me that I can call him any time of the day or night if something like that happened again.
There are good and bad people in all colors, sizes, religions, races and genders. I don’t know what else to say. Some people say it’s a work of extremists who can’t tolerate differences, some say it’s an act of political retaliation, while some believe that the US government knew about this all along and let it happen to fulfill their plans to attack Middle East. I have heard about the companies who are minting millions at the cost of others. How can we wrap our minds around something like this? Millions of human beings have died and suffered around the world since 9/11. While I am occupied with the worries of day to day responsibilities and getting kids through college, I do think it’s important to learn from differences and not try to impose our own ideas on others. I am familiar with the religions and I choose not to follow everything they say. If people attack others who are different than them, then we are all at risk.