Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11: We Saw the Face of Terror and We Still Flew Towards It

Yahoo! asked Americans how September 11 changed them. Below is an account from a reader.

9-11 North face South Tower after plane strike
Sept. 11 is forever seared in my mind's memory bank. I normally forget most things now, being middle-aged, but unbelievable video footage of the planes crashing, the heroics of first responders and ordinary citizens alike, people jumping to their deaths and the utter chaos which followed are still running inside my mind over 10 years later.

At that time, I wasn't living in the United States but was finishing up my INS papers as my family and I planned to permanently move to the U.S., a decision we hoped we wouldn't later on regret.
Watching the news of that fateful day gave me and my wife nightmares as we weren't sure if we would want to raise our kids in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. For months, the U.S. Embassy in our country didn't process U.S. visas, and it didn't help that we had terror groups based in our part of the globe. To them, we were all suspect.
And so we weren't even sure if we could even move, whatever decision we came up with. But a year later, we got our visas and we were on our way, flying aboard a 747.
Today, we still aren't sure if we made the right choice. But nevertheless, we were glad we did. And even though we were held by immigration officers at LAX for hours, we were actually the last people to be let through. Well, there was this other Asian man who was wearing a face mask and he was probably quarantined because of some foreign virus. The airport was dark, it was late, we were scared, upset, tired and hungry, but we said this is the price we have to pay for everyone to be safe.
We have lived in the States close to 10 years, and our child was born and goes to school here. We are law abiding citizens, we pay our taxes and we are happy to contribute to the economy and the well-being of our adopted country. We are proud Americans, or shall I say, American Citizens. Although our child is American born, he is still Asian-American. And we will forever remember 9/11 and how it could be the key to whatever happens to our family's future.
In the final analysis, I can say that Sept. 11 was one of the reasons I wanted to go into law enforcement, but then again, my wife vehemently objected. Nevertheless, we compromised and I took a civilian position instead. I have worked in the county jail and also in the local police station and I have participated in neighborhood watches and volunteer work. And if I may say so, subconsciously, all these were brought about by our desire to help protect our new home country -- the land where we have chosen to bring up our child and hopefully his children and his children's children, something that my grandfather wasn't sure of when he first arrived at this very soil 100 years ago. He went back and raised a family in Asia.

Originally published at Yahoo! US News back in September 11, 2011.

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