I was sleeping on my floor mattress in Clairemont, CA (San Diego) less than a mile from the apartment and Mosque where two of the hijackers lived and "worshiped". Our cable was supposed to be installed that day and my roommate Doug was awakened by the cable guy who said, "Have you turned your TV on yet?" Doug woke me up and told me that the WTC was attacked, the Pentagon was attacked, and that planes were being hijacked. I thought he was joking and tried to go back to sleep in my pre-911 invincible American attitude. When I doubted him but looked at the TV, I was mortified. The second tower had just been hit and I was watching replay after replay and crying like a little bitch. All of the sudden, I started thinking about all of my friends and family in New York, including a few of them who worked in the WTC or right nearby. I figured if these Islamic terrorist animals figured out how to accomplish this mayhem, that they had to have more coming.
I was calling my parents and sister and finally got through to her. She was balling and said, "How am I going to explain to my children that there are such evil people in the world?" I finally made it through to my dad, and I was surprised that he wasn't. My father grew up very aware of what Islamic terrorists were capable of and never put something like this past them. He confirmed that he had reached our Aunt and cousins and that everyone was alright. I found out that Tracy, my brother-in-law's brother-in-law, had decided to go to work late that day, and was on his way to work in the WTC when the attacks were happening. Many people weren't so lucky.
I guess you can call me a 9-11 Democrat, because in the following weeks, not only did I lose my naivete, but I lost my idiotic liberal beliefs. I learned right away, that true evil does exist, that not all cultures are created equal, and that criminals and our enemies only deserve death. Since then, I learned why the country I had taken for granted all of my immigrant life, was the best country on earth, with the best people on earth, and for those first few weeks after 9-11, I saw how tragedy could bring people of all stripes together. How sad that the human psyche can only remember for so long, perhaps it's to keep us sane, but it has allowed many in America to forget whom our real enemies are. So today, like every year, I honor the memories of the people who passed, by jarring my own, watching every possible video, listening to every audio clip, and forcing myself to image their horror. Most of all, I get to see the best of Americans and see the bravery & humility shown that day.