This time last year.. I was in a different place- mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. As with every year, I attempted to convey my feelings about the events that took place eleven years ago.
This year, I handled it differently.
I walked the 5 or 6 blocks downtown to a ceremony taking place with our community leaders. But before I share those pictures with you, I wanted to share the post I wrote last year. If I have any edits, it will be noted in blue:
I thought I would start the post off as if I was writing an essay at school. The title seems so fitting.
For those living under a rock, or in other parts of the world where people have moved on - it's the 10th anniversary of the tragedy that took place in NY, DC, & Pennsylvania. Hundreds of lives were lost. It was absolutely horrific.
It also marks the day that launched the United States of America into war with both Iraq and Afghanistan. Hundreds (if not thousands) of lives have been lost. American and otherwise.
It also marks the day that the last name Abdou was frowned upon. Or the language of Arabic was looked at suspiciously. Or that all people of Islam were considered extremists. Or that all people from the middle east are terrorists.
I by NO MEANS see this day as a day I like to remember. I hate it more than you can imagine.
My heart breaks for the people who got on those 4 planes and ended up losing their lives. I cannot imagine the fear they must have felt, or the pain their families had to endure.
I am saddened by the brave men and women who risked everything to try to save innocent people from a burning, yet crumbling building.
I feel absolute horror for the people in the towers that fell dozens of floors from their rooms engulfed in flames.
I am so sad and and angry that a group of misinformed men could plan such a terrible plot and bring such devastation to a nation.
I mourned for my country back then as I do now - but I am trying really hard not to dwell.
I hate the fact that soldiers were sent to Iraq for the wrong reasons. Maybe the right reasons, I don't know. We are not privy to this information. But sooo many lives were lost. Not only "our boys and girls in uniform" - but innocent Iraqis. People who were just minding their own business.
Yes, I am glad Saddam is gone. But I don't glorify it.
I feel really sad for the innocent people in Afghanistan. One of the poorest countries on Earth - that is now a never-ending battle ground. Yes, I am glad we found Bin Laden in Pakistan. But I don't glorify the way he exited this world. There are just more of his disciples ready to line up and take his place.
The wars, the fighting, all of that - it's just adding fuel to the fire. Fighting fire with fire is not going to solve anything. Just creates more hate on "their side" and more "fear and ignorance" on our side.
I sometimes wonder if when I send my resume out, they see the Arabic last name and pass over me. *I was unemployed at the time and having a hard time trying to find a job.
I still remember my "friends" asking me if I thought the egyptian was only using me to get to this country, because of some terrorist plot. After that man passed 9 security clearances in Washington, they still raised on eyebrow...
Or when he went to NYC, the ignorant questions I got from "well meaning" people about who he was staying with, and why did he want to go there so bad....
Or how when I mention my husband's a Muslim, I pause a second, and every single person says, "Well that's got to be interesting. How does that work?" As if he is not human....
Or how days like today will bring out the ignorant comments and FB statuses and Tweets about a group of people that are lumped together.
We all respond differently to tragedy. Some people get mad and wave their flags. Some people curl up and hide from the pain. I wish we could just learn something from all of this.
When people look back at history and try to answer WHY - I wonder if the historians will pin point the reasons. Was it our greed? Was it our hot-headed cockiness? Was it just a few misinformed delinquents from the Middle East biting off more than they realized? What did we do to make a group of people hate us? What can we do to change? What can they do to change?
Yes, we are a great country. But we are also greatly flawed.
Today, I will remember EVERYTHING. Not just the sad parts. The parts many people refuse to acknowledge. It's a dark day for sure, one I will never forget.
Now for today's photos: