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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten years ago...

We all knew where we were ten years ago on this day.  We know the moment we heard that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers and then it became more real when the second tower was hit.  The world simultaneously froze and was in fast forward at the same time.   We all have our stories of that day and the days following as we were glued to the television, calling the ones you loved and staying close to the ones around you. 
I was so lucky to have lived in New York City for a semester during college and I fell in love with the city.  NYC has a life of its own... it breathes and fills you with life… it has an energy like no other place on Earth.  It is a true melting pot and is a perfect picture of America.  I lived in the city during the second anniversary of September 11th.  My roommate, Colleen and I made our way
down to Ground Zero on this day 8 years ago.   I was not expecting the rush of emotions that I witnessed and felt while I was there that day.  Yes, I had my story of that day, but it was nothing compared to the people who witnessed firsthand the destruction and death of 9/11.   I sat in my college dorm room watching from a bubble… I was not there that day, I did not know anyone who died, I did not have to walk past the hospitals that had patients overflowing into the streets, I did not have to clean up the dust that had found its way into my house from the collapsed towers… I was just a bystander until that day on September 11th, 2003.  As I stood at the sight of the attacks I
 felt it in my core.  I watched grown men fall to their knees weeping while the names of the victims were being read by their family members.  A car was driving around playing the Star Spangled Banner, which along with the names being read was the only other noise you heard besides the shedding of so many tears.  That day truly sunk in and I saw that this had not only happened to New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, but it had happened to my country… this had happened to ME!  It was by far one of the most emotional days of my life.  Colleen and I did not stay for long, we couldn’t!  The emotional effort it took to be there completely wiped us out. 
So, did I think ten years ago and then eight that I would be living in the Middle East in a place that supplied two of the hijackers that day, HELL NO!  But, I am here.  I think you can learn from the past and you can grow and move forward.  Education and relationships are key in this process, so I am trying to fully experience this Muslim world I am living in.  Jon and I live next door to Adil.  Adil is a Pakistani and Muslim man… should I hate him for those two facts… should I judge him?  Are these two items the only things that make him who he is?  No, he has so many other traits that make up who he truly is. Adil is a Dad to three wonderful daughters, he is a husband to a beautiful wife, he is a banker, a cricket player, a son and a neighbor.  He is just like us, just born in a different place and practices a different religion.  There are millions of Adils in this world!
 Are there crazies out their too?  Yes and we should fight to stop the terrorism that threatens our lives and our future.  I have learned through my experiences over here that we are not fighting a war against Islam.  We are in a battle everyday against extremists!  We should never forget what happened that day and we can honor those who died this day, ten years ago, by stopping those who are irrational, ignorant, unjust and poison this world.  We must all stand together, Americans, Middle Easterners, Chinese, African, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or Atheist to stop those who want to get in the way of this world, OUR world from moving into a peaceful future. 
Today, I am thinking of my family and friends back home, my cousin serving our country in Afghanistan and his family, my new friends in this foreign land that I now call home and the daughter we brought into the world.  I hope that she will see a world where we can all coexist peacefully.  I am an American and a proud one, but I am also a child of this world and I hope that others like me can rise up and over shadow those who want to put a black cloud over this world we all call home! (Cue the epic song We are the world as the blog fads to black…)
Okay, here is a little video to cut the serious blog... I just can’t handle that much seriousness at one time!  I think if everyone in the world watched this video it might be a happier place and bring us a little bit closer together!
(Leighton has found her voice and this is her new favorite pastime!)

Until Later…


  1. Hearing the names of the victims, in the place in which the horror occurred two years earlier, is something I will never forget. The World Trade Center continues to evolve as a memorial, and looks different each time I visit. Every time I go to the city, I take an afternoon to walk the blocks surrounding the WTC. It never becomes "easy" to go there, but is necessary and an honor to walk in the footsteps of the heroes who were there that day, ten years ago. I find myself at a time in parenthood that I have to explain the events of that day to inquiring minds... But how do you explain history through tears, when it doesn't seem like history at all? I consider myself an adoptee of NYC, and I have since our semester there together.

  2. Hey Hillary - i just found your blog and would love to email with you about your experience in Dubai. We are looking to move there soon and from what i've read so far are in similar stages of life. Would you be interested in sharing some info/encouragement about your experience?

    Melissa French