Tag Archives: September 11

Post 9/11

12 Sep

Any American who experienced the tragedy of 9/11 can attest that day confounded expectation. I was completely dumbstruck. I was like many that went about their morning routine only to be disrupted by something so surreal. I remember heading to class that morning passing through the hallway dorm and seeing a gathering of friends standing, unmoving and staring at the TV. Not a person spoke. I quickly glanced at the TV and then in that moment of disbelief, tried to process what I was seeing. That moment of helplessness I think was felt all around. Every American and person living in the US stood still watching in horror.

I read an article following the victims – the ones who survived 9/11 or lost someone to 9/11. I sensed the anger and sorrow and felt it only to a degree, but never experienced the trauma. Feelings of guilt, injustice, and pain are the burden 9/11 victims carry each day. They certainly don’t forget. Some were lucky to be alive, others life was suddenly unfair.

I contemplate about the changes made since 9/11. The government established Homeland Security, invaded Iraq, and set on the mission to fight terrorism. They would remind the world that the US would rebuild again and become stronger from it. It has, but I wonder if we missed a bigger point.

The root cause was Islamic extremism. After 9/11, Muslims were suddenly labeled terrorists. More Americans reacted negatively to people with any seeming ties to the Middle East. Stereotypes were rampant. Discrimination was at full force. Perhaps it was nothing really new in America but it was more pronounced than ever. I started to think how I felt about people of different cultures of Middle eastern culture or otherwise. I am a minority, but I still grew up with certain stereotypes about other cultures too whether taught or learned by observation.

I realized how hard it is to change my belief system. A part of me wonders if I’m willing to change the way I think. Despite how open-minded I think I am, some beliefs still stick. Sometimes we grow up having misgivings about each other until we have experiences that tell us differently. Being quick to judge can easily fragment the community and cause conflict. In the aftermath of 9/11 am I helping with bridging the differences between cultures? In only a diverse nation like the US, we can maybe work towards changing those preconceived notions. I know that as truth is universal, freedom is not, and the freedom to uncover truth and dispel stereotypes is a real privilege, no less expected of us.