The Victims of 9/11

The events of September 11, 2001 have produced much grief worldwide. I pity the innocent victims of Al Qaida. I also pity victims of our military in Afghanistan and Iraq, thanks to “Operation Enduring Freedom.” They did not deserve to die.

september-11 9-11I do not know who was responsible for 3,000-plus deaths that morning in lower Manhattan and Washington, DC. But from the beginning, I have not been quick to blame Al Qaida. Too many questions surround Flight 93 (Pennsylvania), the destruction of the World Trade Center (NYC), and the Pentagon attack (DC). The U.S. government also gained too much. We do not need Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, or TSA at airports. Have things changed since 9/11? Yes, but not for the good of this nation. For thirteen years, it has been cloaked in darkness.

I have not seen Flight 93: The Movie (2006) and I do not want to. Other films tell better stories about 9/11 victims and they are not propaganda. One victim is Nick (Anthony LaPaglia), a New York City fire captain who shares stories with an editor named Joan (Sigourney Weaver) in The Guys (2002). A few months have passed since 9/11. Joan helps Nick, the sole survivor of his unit, write eulogies for his co-workers’ funerals. Her words also help him cope with his grief as she finds a way to share her own pain in the city she loves and calls home. This movie was filmed in New York and uses real 9/11 footage.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011) is also set in New York City. A boy named Oscar (Thomas Horn), who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, is grieving for his father (Tom Hanks), a businessman who died at the World Trade Center. He also keeps a secret from his mother (Sandra Bullock) – his father’s voicemails on that fateful day. As he learns to cope with his grief, Oscar journeys through New York City to find the lock to a key his father had left behind.

my-name-is-khan terroristAnother man with Asperger’s syndrome suffers after 9/11, but he must battle racial and religious prejudice. In My Name is Khan (2010), Rizvan Khan, an Indian Muslim, goes to California where he meets and marries a Hindu named Mandira. They have two children. Then the morning of September 11 dawns. Their son is beaten to death on a soccer field for being Muslim; his Caucasian friend refuses to intervene or expose his murderers. Obeying his wife’s grief-stricken words, Rizvan travels to Washington, DC to tell the President, “My name is Khan and I am not a terrorist.”

Isabella Fields El-Ibrahimi (Reese Witherspoon) must also battle racial prejudice in Rendition (2007). She lobbies congressmen to get her Egyptian husband Anwar released from a secret detention facility overseas. While visiting family in Egypt, he is interrogated by the U.S. government as a suspected terrorist because of a recent bombing.

Businessmen, firefighters, and writers; Caucasians, Arabs, and Indians; friends, family, and co-workers – all these people suffered on and after 9/11. They are true victims. Let us remember them.

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