9.11.2009

Remembering the Tragedy of September 11, 2001

Remembering the Tragedy of September 11, 2001
By Ashahed M. Muhammad

We all remember the tragedy of September 11, 2001. I was actually in Atlanta, Georgia eight years ago when the news came that something happened to one of the World Trade Center Towers. At first, news reports simply said, “there was an explosion” near the WTC site. As the world watched, a second airplane hurling through air had been turned into a missile. With great speed it slammed into the second WTC Tower.

It became apparent at that moment, if it wasn’t already, that America had been attacked. Instinctively, everyone living in America, even those who have been critical of its social, economic and political conditions knew that life would never be the same. For Muslims, it was clear that things were going to change significantly and perhaps most drastically for them.

Three-hours later, both WTC towers had collapsed. My thoughts went back to a friend of mine that I met one summer who attended Seton Hall. She worked at the World Trade Center when a bomb went off there back in 1993. She survived the 1993 attack, but I remember her telling me that the attack scared the hell out of her. I lost contact with her, but when looking at the names of the close to 3,000 who perished as a result of the coordinated attacks and simultaneous hijacking of four airliners, thankfully, her name was not one of them.

I am certain that on this day, for the families who have lost loved ones, nothing can describe the experience of feeling that someone you know or care about died in such a terrible way. To the best of my knowledge, I was fortunate, I did not lose anyone in the worst terrorist attack on American soil.

The announcement was made that the
Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan would be speaking a few days later, on September 16th to deliver a message regarding the 9-11 attacks. I along with two other brothers (you know who you are) were able to secure extremely cheap airplane tickets round trip from Atlanta to Chicago in the days following 9-11. Everyone was afraid to fly, and if you recall, after the attack, North American airspace was closed to civilian aircraft for several days. In fact, I think our flight was one of the first to go up after air travel was again permitted.

When we got on our early morning flight at Atlanta’s Hartsfield/Jackson Int'l Airport. It was just us three, and a few other civilian passengers on the plane. The rest were pilots and stewardesses who had been stranded in their respective cities. There couldn’t have been over 20 people on the flight. We weren’t afraid to fly, we were just trying to get to Chicago to directly hear Minister Farrakhan’s message to the world.

Minister Farrakhan was the first Muslim leader with the courage to speak out immediately after the attacks on the Pentagon and WTC. He spoke in a rational manner and his words were filled with guidance to lead all sides through a particularly troubling period in the history of the United States.

I have been impacted by the 9-11 attacks, and so has my family. I remember one time when my daughter, at the tender age of 4 was “randomly” picked, probably because of her name, to have special security screening prior to an airplane flight we were about to take. To his credit, the TSA representative apologized profusely and was upset that he had to wand my child down. He was a decent human being. I was very vigilant, and she took it all in stride.

After again checking the names listed of those who died, I lost no family members, or even friends, in the 9-11 attacks, however my sympathies are with those who lost friends and loved ones in such a horrendous manner.

Read the entire text of Minister Farrakhan's message, including the Q&A period with the media at: http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/Perspectives_1/article_6422.shtml
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