Last year on this day, my father passed away. He lived a long, fulfilling life.
We were lucky to have been able to be by his bedside, a few days before his final departure. And, even though it was a very difficult time for me and my family, it was also peaceful for two reasons.
One, it was mid-monsoon in Bengal. Torrential rain, thunderstorm, and then relentless rain all day…the crows getting drenched perched on that big Ficus tree right in front of our house…the streets are making noise with the pattering of the rain, wheeling of the rubber tires of Calcutta taxis…and the indescribable sound people make with their feet when they walk across rain-soaked alleys…occasionally leaping over the puddles…
And then, after a hard burst of rain, the sky gets crystal clear. The trees show their real lush green foliage. Pollution disappears. That’s how it has always been. That’s how it will always be.
And the second reason, of course, is that we could make it on time. Being in America, ten thousand miles away from there, we always had anxieties that when the time finally comes for him to go, we wouldn’t be there. This apprehension exacerbated after my wife could not arrive before the death of her parents. The news came too suddenly.
We went from school to school, and community to community here in New York and New Jersey, and we collected real-life stories written by our children. These are their 9/11 stories. These are their 9/11 world.
To these children, to you, I owe thousand apologies that in spite of many tries, my co-workers and I could not find a publisher willing to publish your stories. But I did not forget you, and I did not forget the way you opened your hearts and minds to us.
I’m now posting some of these stories here. Hope the world will notice this time.
Brooklyn, New York
Advocacy work at: (1) New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE); (2) New Jersey Immigration Policy Network.
I am 15 years old. My name is Sheika Jones and my favorite color is blue. I love to sing and listen to music. I write poems on my spare time. I have a best friend name Fantasia and she means the world to me. I want to be a singer or a nurse wehn I get older, or a teacher so I can teach kids about different cultures. I am a business person. I like to wear a lot of jewelry. I am jamacian, puerto Rican, Indian, and Black. I am a spick but I also deserve to get treated with respect.
To be an immigrant is like you escaping from another country and to another or to just not be from your own country. It hasn’t changes since 9/11 because people still treat others the same way. I think it should have changed America, should have came together instead of separate. Certain people do act different towards me now, but I don’t pay them no mind.
I WILL BE MISSING YOU
You were so full of life, always smiling and carefree.
Life loved you being a part of it,
And I loved you being a part of me.
You could make anyone laugh,
If they were having a bad day.
No matter how sad I was you could take the hurt away.
Nothing could ever stop you,
Or even make you fall.
You were ready to take on the world, ready to do it all.
But God decided he needed you,
So from this world you left.
But you took a piece of all of us; our hearts are what you kept.
Your seat is now empty, and it’s hard not to see your face.
But please always know this. No one will ever take your place.
ou left without a warning,
Not even saying good0bye.
And I can’t seem to stop,
Asking the question why.
Nothing will ever be the same,
The halls are empty without your laughter.
But I know you’re up in heaven,
Watching over us and looking after.
i didn’t see this coming,
It hit me by surprise.
And when you left this world,
A small part of us died.
Your smile could brighten anyone’s day,
No matter what they were going through.
And i know everyday for the rest of my life,
I will be missing you.
With the one-year anniversary of Sept. 11, I find I have a lot to look back on. I remember the night my friends and I decided not to dress up for the New Comers High School Senior Prom. Instead, my friends and I decided to crash the formal party held at the World Trade Center in street clothes, causing all kinds of trouble. Unfortunately, no kids after the year 2000 would be allowed to have a prom there.
I remember Sharif, nicknamed Bunty, one of the older players on my high school football team, was looking up to by everyone in my lowly sophomore and junior years. I was shocked by the news that he too died in the attacks. Walking two kids to the Sept. 11 memorial that we have on our school grounds, I forze when I saw his picture, surrounded by roses and other mementos. Instead of shedding tears, all I could do was remember the funny moments that secretly endeared him to me.
That is what Sept. 11 has meant to me and a lot of my friends back home. It should serve as a reminder of the good times we have with the people we care about, just as much as it serves as a time of mourning. Sept. 11 is more than merely wearing a glum face and crying for those people who passed away. And damn us all if it ever turns into another commercial holiday. Sept. 11 is about love.
Love is the driving force that seems to push everyone in these times and it is what should push us as we remember those whose lives were lost in the attacks. We have love for our fellow man so we fight to rescue him or her from a burning, collapsing building. The love we have for the people who died drives us to memorialize them on the anniversary of one of our most tragic days. The people who knew them and loved them most, did so regardless of their faults and always will.
Some of the people who were killed that day were loving, laughing, jolly people who would hate to see their loved ones in sadness or despair. So as you remember, please try not to upset yourself too much. The grief should be understood by everyone.
I recall coming home to New York after Christmas break. My cousin and I would look at the thin lines that ran down the Wold Trade Center and ponder about the hundreds of thousands of people in them, hustling and bustling, doing what all New Yorkers do.
The Twin Towers were so tall, but never in an ominous way. To me, they seemed to be a beacon, a huge road sign saying, “Welcome to New York City. This is your home and it always will be.”
I almost walked right past the site because I was so used to having the Twin Towers mark where I was located. I saw a small crowd of people staring at something, and then I turned to the left, I saw a vast empty wasteland I knew was the end of the New York legacy the World Trade Center helped to represent.
Maybe out west, people are used to seeing vast stretches of useless land, but to a city dweller like me, it scared me, like when your father has a heart attack right in front of you and you don’t know CPR. Everyone around country says what happened in New York was horrible because people were killed. This is true and I would never suggest otherwise, but there is more than just that tragedy.
My entire world was taken away from me. I rode the outside of the F train, another train leading into Manhattan, only to find I was disoriented by the loss of the greatest landmark I have ever known. The landscape looked different. I might as well been in Seattle or some other city. Those two building were like party of my family, like those two cousins who are brothers that spend the holidays with you. But their undoing ws not going to break my heart. When the towers fell, my world was altered forever. I found hope in the strength of the people who were on the scene, helping each other to survive during and long after the 11th.
So now, as we try to move forward, what is it exactly we ware going to remember? If you ask me, I am going to have to say I will remember raiding my prom. I ma going to remember my mother, who I love more than anything, taking time off from her job to take me to the top of the World Trade Center when I was six years old. I am going to remember the first bombing, when all of the television stations were out and all we could do was watch CBS’s airing of “The Wizard of Oz,” I am going to remember Fat.
In short, I am going to remember the good times, because they are the only things that can pull us past tragedies. On Sept. 11, I plan to laugh as much as I plan to cry.
3 years ago, I thought my dream was brighter than everyone else’s dream. I thought, I could accomplish my dream so easily. But unfortunately these days I have been living with fears. I earnestly believe that my fear has started when the terrorist broke the World Trade Center. That day was like some other ordinary days. I woke up in the morning; I think it was about 8:00. So I took the breakfast in the morning with my parents and then they left from home at 8:30. Then I decided to turn on the television because I didn’t know what to do. But unfortunately, in that couple of planes had attacked in the World trade Center. At the first time I thought it was kind of movie, actually I couldn’t believe it. After watching 30 minutes about the same topic, I finally understood that it happened.. This was one of the most horrible tragedies, I have ever seen.
About 5000 people had died in the attack. It happened around 8:45. This attack was absolutely unnoticeable. I had tears in my eyes because my uncle died during the attack. I couldn’t believe that my uncle died because I had conversation with my uncle the day before of attack. My aunt had been crying since my uncle died. My uncle had two children, one of them is 16 year old, and the other one is 19 years old. Now they are getting mentally sick. They always talk about hteir father. They haven’t forgotten their father. I hope they will overcome the horrible memory very soon.
I wanted to be doctor. I have lost my self-confidence because 9/11 because now I think there is not enough opportunity for Muslim people. Well I am a Muslim. And my first name is Mohammed. And I have heard, some people think all the Mohamed is terrorist. But is that my mistake, my name is Mohammed. I think this kind of stereotype, I meant those people who think Mohammed is bad, and they shouldn’t judge one person with others. But fortunately, I feel much better right now because my father have told me you shouldn’t think about it all the time. I should move on and keep focus on your dream or aim.
On 9.11.01, I was in my native country. Though I was not i the USA at that time I still can see that most horrible moment and day in front of my eyes, because I was watching the WTC falling through the media. I was feeling like thousands of people are dying in front of me and I couldn’t do anything to save them.
However, it’s a real heart touching event to know and to see, but also its true that situation made many living Muslim people to suffer a lot. Nowadays many people all over the world think Islam means terrorism, which is absolutely wrong.
Right now I’m living in the USA with my whole family. But in the Sep. 11 only my two brothers were here. I heard from them that luckily they didn’t have to face any kind of big problem during that time, but many of our relatives faced different kinds of problems like as, immigration, religious discrimination, and people’s hate. People in the USA know that general Muslim people cannot be blamed for that terrorist attack, but still we are suffering. Nusrat Jarin