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What were you doing on September 11, 2001?
A day no one forgets. I was attending high school in Houston, Tx. It was a sunny morning. It was a strange coincidence. Precisely on this day and at the time of the event, I was attending my US government class. I remember we were pledging allegiance to the American flag, like we used to do every day at 9:00 a.m. The pledge goes like this: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”. Few minutes later, after all of us have sat and were getting ready for the class, the speaker in our classroom was activated again and a rough voice delivered us the terrible news: The twin towers in New York city have been attacked and were collapsing at that very moment.
I just remember the silence. For a brief moment, there was just silence. And then, confusion and chaos.
We could not just ignore the news and keep with the class as usual. We went up straight to the auditorium, where the Principal gathered us so we could receive more information about what just happened.
We were told to stay inside the school. Our parents were not allowed to pick us up. There were rumors, that the terrorists (or whatever the name) were thinking about attacking the medical centers in Houston. Honestly, I don’t remember much more, and how long I stayed that day in school. I had a very strong impression, but still felt far away. We were afraid, of course, but it was difficult to imagine that this was even real. I remember we discussed it in the US History class a few days later. The whole thing just felt as a part of a Sci-fi movie. I remember very well my literature professor, who kept telling us: “We have to move on, we have to keep going”.
And then, I felt sorry for my classmates from the Middle East. It took one day and one incident for them to be automatically condemned as terrorists and as a “threat” to America. I had a friend, who used to have lunch with us. She was a girl from the Lebanon. She stopped going to school because of the pressure she felt from the whole environment, which was all about blaming Osama Bin Laden, the Middle East, and the Islamic culture. Everyone with an Arabic name was considered suspicious.
Who was I at that time to understand what did all meant? Who was I to question if I was indirectly being part of a movie without a happy end?
I was too young to understand, back then, that this precise day, dictated the beginning of the end of our freedom. After that incidence, nothing in America, and probably nothing in the world…was ever the same.
Looking back at my childhood memories of America during the nineties, I remembered a very different world. It was a beautiful country. I will never forget, the night skyline of the buildings of downtown Houston. The beautiful parks, well taken care of, like manicure gardens. The easiness of the people, the true feeling of freedom, of being in a country that maybe it was far from perfect, but at least felt free in many ways.
Many years have passed since I left America, but it still holds a dear place in my heart. That’s why it breaks my heart to see the decadence, the controlled destruction that is happening, and sadly, it has been going on since decades, maybe even before I was even born.
I don’t recognize America anymore. How can a country that used to be so great, the role model of the western culture… the dreamed place for many who wished to live in freedom… became the joke it is today?
It is painful for me to watch. Too painful. The barely alive (current) President in office taking every single piece of freedom away by the minute. The spirit of wholehearted, talented and hardworking people being erased by unemployment benefits, lockdowns and vaccination harassment. The destruction of the family and glorification of humans as undefinable entities. Extreme polarizations of opinions, eradication of the real freedom of speech… I cannot continue, it just hurts.
I don’t recognize America… I don’t recognize the world right now.
But I am a dreamer, and I have faith. I have faith that we will wake up from this bad dream. We will stand together and take back what was stolen from us.
September 11, we will never forget.