Ten years later, I still remember how utterly surreal it was to go from watching Sesame Street to watching the world I knew change forever.
But while the world around me changed, I was not personally affected by the September 11 attacks. No one I knew was flying that day. I didn't know anyone working at the Pentagon, or a single person in New York City, let alone anyone in the World Trade towers. While life for Americans in general changed, my own personal life was not altered in the horrific way it was for others. I can't imagine the pain and horror those who were affected had to deal with.
Phyllis Rodriguez's son was in one of the Twin Towers that day. It took 36 hours of anxiety before his family found out that he had been killed. Aicha el-Wafi's son is Zacarias Moussaoui, who was sentenced as a conspirator in the attacks. The two women have formed a beautiful, inspiring friendship that speaks volumes about the power of forgiveness, healing, and mutual understanding and respect.
It is my prayer today, and every day, that we as a human race can strive to, as Aicha el-Wafi says, "...all live together in peace, and respecting each other."