15 Years Later

Even though I was only a couple of years old, 9/11 had an impact on me too. Those terrorists hurt me too.

When my maternal grandmother passed away only a few days after the attacks, my mom could not fly to Bangladesh to attend her funeral. All flights were canceled and airports became paranoid of future attacks, and rightfully so. I cannot imagine the pain my mom felt when she realized that she couldn’t even say goodbye properly to the woman who brought her into this world. The attackers took this chance away from her.

To this day, the attacks still affect me. They’ve ingrained a harsh stereotype into people’s brains, that anyone associated with Islam is a threat. The attackers thought they were doing good for the religion of Islam, that they were working in Allah’s name. Here’s what they really did: in pursuing their selfish and disgusting motives, they hurt the Muslim community. They’ve caused prejudice to grow against us. Because of them, Americans, champions of the freedom of religion, are questioning whether or not Muslims are safe to be around.

I hope that we don’t give in to their wishes. They want us to question each other, to question our values, to question our openness. But we can’t. We can’t because doing so would make us un-American. We must show these extremists that culture evolves with time. As the world is becoming more globalized and interconnected, it is more important than ever to be accepting. “Western culture” is a melting pot. We value everyone’s traditions, and we should continue to do so.

On September 11, 2001, 
I was nearly three,
but that does not mean the attacks did not affect me.
I know the harsh memories this day brings to the families who can no longer hear their loved ones sing.
I remember the brave souls who responded to the call for help,
even if it meant risking themselves.
I assume that the terrorists did not care for the lives they did not spare.
I want my country to not give in,
because if we do, then they will win.
I hope that we can rise from our fear to protect the values we hold so dear.​​

Originally published at aspiringactivist.weebly.com on 9/11/2016.

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