19 years later

We’re living in unprecedented times right now, but what preceded current times changed drastically 19 years ago, on 11 September 2001.

There isn’t a lot I can say about my personal experience that I didn’t discuss 6 years ago, but I would like to recommend a book that I picked up last year.

The Only Plane in the Sky provided me an intimate look at the stories from survivors and surviving stories from the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and Flight 93. I checked out the ebook last year and was shaken by how raw the emotions were of these stories from 9/11. Although I now rarely purchase physical books, I knew this was something I would revisit at least once a year to remember these stories and the emotions that have been buried or faded. It feels special to be privy to these very personal stories and memories, and I’m very grateful for the privilege.

In particular, since I was in a suburb of New York on 9/11, this book helped connect me to the stories of the attack on the Pentagon and of Flight 93, which were largely overshadowed by the Twin Towers that day but especially for those of us whose families and friends were directly impacted by the attack on the World Trade Center.

I won’t lie, this book was really hard to read at times. Reliving the horrors from the perspective of survivors, from the perspective of surviving family members, was hard. Choking down tears on the subway was embarrassing and awkward. But it feels important to me to not let myself become numb to the these feelings, and to keep working towards something better, so that all that we’ve suffered since isn’t in vain.

Little ways to work towards something better:

  • Donate to an organization serving 9/11 first responders or victims’ families, many of whom are still suffering 19 years later
  • Listen to the reading of the names of the 9/11 victims, which was not done by the families this year in order to maintain social distance
  • Check in on your Muslim friends (and your Sikh friends, your Arab friends, your South Asian friends…), whose lives have been so much more difficult the past 19 years
  • Make sure you are registered to vote

Take care of yourselves and take care of each other. Never forget.

One year ago today at the 9/11 Memorial