Time to Remember

Today is a day in which many will remember exactly what they were doing at the time of one of the most horrific times in American history. We will remember all the lives that were lost and all of the pain and anger that was left behind following the attacks. We will remember unity of the country and some will remember the hate crimes and racism that followed the attacks...on fellow Americans.

I will remember my fiance leaving that very morning, before the attacks happened, on the USS Boise, a US Navy fast attack submarine as a junior officer. I thought of him as I climbed into the car of the APAICS executive director's (Daphne Kwok) car with her and her deputy director (Emmy Akiyama) and headed off to NYC for exit polling...and how a missed turn on the highway resulted in our delay in arrival time to NYC. I remember our cell phones ringing...Daphne's parents calling her to tell her of events occurring in NYC and my sister calling to see where we were. After deciding to turn around and returning back to DC, we get more phone calls about events occurring in DC. I remember thinking what is happening and that we were stuck in between two war zones. I worried that my fiance, who had surely heard the news in his little tube under the sea, was worried sick knowing that I had intended on going to NYC that day and not knowing if I was ok (especially since it's not like I could just call him and that my emails took several days to reach him to tell him that I was safe & sound). Returning back to the office, a block and a half away from the White House, seeing tanks and military police on the street below was so was the fear of riding the Metro into and working in DC and living in the DC metro area with fears of dirty bombs and repeat attacks.

I remember calling our neighbor who daughter and our dear childhood friend worked in the World Trade Center. I remember her telling us that Alex left her office at the top of the building to go downstairs to buy some breakfast...something she never used to do but an action out-of-the-ordinary that saved her life. I remember feeling thankful that my co-worker Giles who was supposed to fly to AZ that day was back and safe. I remember watching the horrible scenes from that day and thinking about all the lives lost and the pain that so many were feeling. I remember feeling especially empathetic about those who lost loved ones in this tragedy having just lost my father almost two years prior. I remember feeling fear and empathy for those Americans who suffered/died post-9/11 because of misplaced hatred/anger towards those who were different and viewed as "the enemy" and yet were probably more American than their attackers. I remembered thinking that those feelings were history repeating itself, more specifically remembering the Japanese American Internment during WWII. I remember feeling fear for so many of my friends who are South Asian American and also wondering if that hatred towards "others" would extend to more Asian Americans and other people of color & underrepresented communities (which it did). I remember feeling helpless & hopeless with this nation both united and divided.

But mainly, I remember the lives lost, the loved ones left behind, and those who selflessly volunteered/fave their lives to help others. I remember those who took complete disregard for their lives to help others in danger and need. I remember that despite living in a world so filled with hatred that there still was a lot of good in the world...and that we must always continue to nurture.

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