On September 11, 2001, I had a lovely, yet somewhat uneventful morning of sightseeing around the streets of Fez, Morocco. After touring an open air market and having a leisurely lunch, I returned to my hotel room and turned on the TV to watch a bit of the news on the international CNN channel.
I was confused. There were frantic reporters and scenes of planes hitting buildings. I couldn’t figure it out at first. My initial thought was that they were showing a clip from an upcoming movie. Over the course of about five minutes, the reality of what had happened began to hit me. I’m sure my feelings were the same as everyone else’s. It was beyond the scope of anything I could fathom. I was horrified, sad, and scared all at once.
When the discussion began to turn to who was responsible for the attacks, I started to panic. I was an American in a predominately Islamic country. This was nothing remotely as scary as it must have been for those who were living near where the attacks happened, but it was scary nonetheless. I certainly saw some Moroccans celebrating the attack. The McDonalds down the street from the hotel had its windows broken, and there was new graffiti on the walls of buildings that praised the attackers. The night of September 11th, I slept with a can of hairspray under my pillow for protection. Seems kind of ridiculous now, but I was scared, really scared! Not sure if I would have been able to fight off a potential terrorist by spraying him with Aquanet, but it was the only “weapon” I had.
The next morning the reality set in. But, I did feel somewhat comforted by the many kind Moroccans who were just as saddened by what happened as we Americans. A local police officer who realized we were Americans offered to buy us lunch. The staff in the hotel was kind. And, I began to think about all of the many wonderful people I met in Morocco and the other Islamic countries I visited prior to September 11th. They were as kind-hearted and friendly as anyone you would meet in the United States. Remembering these people who I met on my journey has always made me stay focused on the fact that it wasn’t a religion or a race that was out to hurt and kill Americans. It was a small wacked out, utterly misguided group. It’s a shame that all of the wonderful people throughout the Middle East get judged because of the stupidity and evilness of such a small group of cowardly thugs.
Anyway, twelve years have passed since that day. I’m now a mom with two small boys, and I can’t imagine the pain of those who lost children, parents, or spouses. Sending them all prayers today, as well as everyone who has been touched by this terrible event.
Song of the Day: Why Can’t We Be Friends