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It seems that most Americans have their own 9/11 story.
There are those who had their flights delayed, those who found out from their sobbing teachers and those whose parents tried to shield their children from the tragedy. Some stories from overseas were not so different.
I found out just as I was riding home from school in Germany where my family was living at the time. Since I was only nine, I certainly did not appreciate the gravity of the situation.
All I knew was that my friends who knew people in New York were very concerned.
My father’s story was different from the typical story. He was at the gate of a refugee center in Frankfurt, Germany, when he heard the news.
His first reaction was not one of shock. He assumed that some small two-seater aircraft had run into one of the towers.
When he entered the complex, he saw that the usually busy area was all but deserted.
The refugee center was home to mostly Kurds, Turks and other Middle Easterners.
It was uncharacteristic of them to stay inside and not be hospitable.
One of my dad’s acquaintances invited him inside where four other men were watching the TV. No one in the room said a word. They all just stared at the TV.
A Kurdish man stopped my father as he left the complex and told him in Turkish, “This shows that you can’t trust anyone–these were men of God who did this.”
During the days following the tragedy, the world rallied around America. The German schools in our area closed their doors on Sept. 12.
Non-Americans all over the world showed solidarity by holding mass vigils and grieving America’s loss.
Some of my father’s Muslim friends even wrote him and apologized for a despicable act committed by their fellow Muslims.
The tragedy had brought out the best of people, but it did not last. All the sympathy was soon lost as conspiracy and prejudice took hold.
The United States invaded Afghanistan about one month after 9/11. Two years after that they invaded Iraq. International support soon began to fade.
It started with Middle Eastern countries condemning the U.S. then continued with the populations of European countries as they removed support.
Eventually, the initially ardent American public began to question the United States’ presence.
More than 10 years later, we still have soldiers in Afghanistan, and Osama Bin Laden is dead.
No doubt some good may have come out of sending soldiers to Afghanistan. However, once our soldiers leave, then all the good that was done will likely be undone. Was it really the right thing to do?
The invasion of Afghanistan was a direct result of 9/11. In many ways it was our retaliation.
Has bombing and sending troops to a nation that has seen war for the last 34 years really helped America?
Few Americans believe that we deserved the Sept. 11 attacks, but fewer Americans consider whether the citizens of Afghanistan deserved to be invaded.
In spite of the differences that arose concerning Sept. 11 and the ensuring war, the day has been associated with solemn remembrance for brave policemen and firefighters who gave their lives to rescue innocent civilians.