As I scurried through the terminal to catch an early morning flight with a work associate I noticed that this usually calm and collected woman was becoming increasingly anxious as we neared our departure time. When we reached the gate she looked up at me with pleading eyes and asked if the trip was really necessary.
It was mid November, 2001, our destination was Boston Logan Airport where just weeks prior “Mohammad Atta and Abdulazis al-Oman” had boarded American Airlines flight 11, Boston to Los Angeles, highjacked the plane and flew it directly into the north tower of the New York Trade Center killing thousands of innocent people.
The country and the world was reeling, everyone was paralyzed in fear that yet another attack could happen at any time or place so I understood her anxiety. I felt a bit apprehensive myself, however the business trip was important so I did my best to console her as we boarded our plane.
As we settled into our seats, I recalled where I was when the first plane hit the north tower. I had just arrived at work when someone ran out of the lunch room having seen it on the television. One of my co-workers ran in with the rest of us and watched in horror, her mother worked in the building on one of the floors that was directly hit. She ran out and didn’t reappear for what seemed like hours instead of minutes - her mom didn’t go to work that day, she had a dentist appointment. We all cheered and hugged her trembling body as the second plane hit the south tower.
By nature of our industry, we had several clients with offices in both buildings, I had traveled to NY to visit with some of them on several occasions and expected the phones to be ringing off the hook as the horror unfolded, however the phones were eerily silent. Our company made the wise decision to close for the day. Driving home I noticed a local gas station had raised the price of fuel ten fold. I was appalled that the owner would try to take financial advantage of people during this tragedy.
Our plane landed without incident at Logan airport, my co-worker gave a sigh of relief as we exited the plane. I looked around as we walked out and saw where the terrorists had entered and as everyone else, wished I could go back and stop them from boarding.
The world changed after September 11, 2001, we became stronger, more aware of our vulnerabilities, but unfortunately more distrusting of our neighbors. As the years have passed we’ve seen growth in tolerance and acceptance towards others, however we’re now witnessing an attempt to take us back to our time of aversion and fear from the republican candidate Donald Trump.
Aesop's words “United we stand, divided we fall” have never been more relevant as they are today. We have chosen as a country to be inclusive of others and have grown to understand that diversity creates unity and strength. We must never allow any voice to attempt to divide our nation by injecting hate, discrimination and fear back into our consciousness.
What occurred fifteen years ago will never be forgotten, nor should it be, however we must always keep a sound perspective of what happened and why. There will always be hate groups and terrorist in our world but fortunately for humanity they encompass a small percentage of people. The vast majority of us are kind, caring individuals who long for peace, acceptance and inclusion to live our lives free of discrimination, hate and intolerance. Let us celebrate our diversity and abandon those who wish to divide us.
Remembering all who lost their lives and loved ones on September 11, 2001, they will never be forgotten.