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Remembering 9/11

Your letters and emails about how the terror attacks changed your life
Oklahoman Published: September 11, 2011

These are excerpts of emails and letters sent in about memories of Sept. 11, 2001.

September 11 affected my life immediately. I felt as through part of our nation had been crushed. I was in the Army at the time ... I knew that we were at war. But at war with who? Still to this day, I cannot fathom the amount of lives lost ... in each death, a family was torn, crushed, broken ... This is going to be a hard month for Americans and especially for New Yorkers ... I have an iconic image in my head when I hear the words “nine eleven.” The image is of two great towers, a symbol of greatness ... both have black smoke boiling out of them. God bless our America. Embrace the land you live in. I love our country.

Brian Cook, Oklahoma City

My husband was set to fly out that morning. He was sitting at his gate when the towers fell. We have a boarding pass that was issued that morning, for a flight that never took off. We were trained disaster relief volunteers ...(and) found ourselves working at the Pentagon the week after the attack ... We served meals to the military personnel and Pentagon employees ... we heard their stories from that day and literally saw their scars from the attack. Our experience is something we don't think about much anymore ... but with the anniversary approaching, we've been thinking about it more.

Angela, Yukon

It was like every other Tuesday morning (but) it would be one of the most important days in modern history which would change the course of many countries, including my own Pakistan. On Sept. 11, 2001, I was an 18-year-old freshman studying at the University of Central Oklahoma ... Born and brought up in Dubai, it had barely been four months since I had landed in the U.S. I skipped my second class since I had a ... job interview at 11 a.m. ... The lady at the reception said it has been postponed due to the events that had happened. As I drove back home, the height of football craze in this country were the thoughts in my mind. It was not until past noon when my roommate came running home and informed me that a plane had struck (the World Trade Center towers). Our initial reaction was that U.S. got what it deserved for meddling into other countries' affairs ...

Those feelings lasted a few seconds when we realized ... the backlash that was to follow. Oklahoma was no stranger to terrorist attacks ... In April 1995 a Christian fundamentalist blew up the downtown federal building killing many innocent people ... Although initially everyone pointed fingers toward Muslims, the attack turned out to be homegrown ... During the days to come the life we were accustomed to slowly changed ... The local mosque for the first time requested a police escort for their Friday sermon. Students were advised to cut back on social activities and not to interact outside classrooms. They were ordered to report to the local immigration office for a long registration process normally done for illegals caught crossing the border. Many, including myself, skipped classes in fear, while some opted to move to Canada ... My luck always outshines at the airport when the computer always randomly selects just me for special screenings, but I am used to it now, so I guess it is time to move on.

Mobisher Rabbani, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

September 11, 2001, started out like any other day on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, sunny and crisp. I was up early and out on my delivery route before the crack of dawn. I remember that I was at one of the bigger stops on my route ... when someone came in from the front of the store and told us that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. A little later just before I was about to leave the store for my next stop, another person came in to tell us that a second plane had flown into the other twin tower. It was at this point we looked at each other and said simultaneously that we were under attack ...

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