However some of us can’t forget it.

The day that it occurred, my sister and I were pulled from school early. My parents explained to us what terrorism was and told us-not showed us-what happened. I didn’t really know what to make of it, but it must’ve been very difficult on my parents.

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I always have mixed emotions on 9/11. It was one of the worst tragedies in American history. Close to 3,000 lives were lost, whether they were airline passengers, tower occupants, or those who ran into the still-burning wreckage knowing they may not come out. The bravery of the men and women who risked their lives to save other echoes to this day.

And it was on this day, 16 years ago, that a whole religion was vilified. On this day 16 years ago, Muslims in this country were no longer fellow citizens, they were enemies. They were no longer friends, they were targets. They were no longer Americans. 3,000 lives were lost on American soil, but close to 200,000 lives were lost in Iraq. In two years we’ll have soldiers in Afghanistan for something that happened before they were born.

Six years ago, my father and I were walking around Seattle when a group of thugs started pestering and bullying him for his brown complexion. This is a man who served this country in the Army Corps of Engineers for nearly 30 years, has been to Iraq and Afghanistan, and even suffered an explosion in 2003 which damn nearly tore my family apart. I was thankful it didn’t escalate. Shortly after 9/11, Muslims, and individuals who were not even Middle-Eastern, were killed by lunatics who suddenly became afraid of brown skin.

I am going to receive so much shit for this, and I don’t care anymore. Shit away. Muslims were vilified and despite Muslim leader around the world and the overwhelming majority of peaceful Muslims speaking out against terrorist acts, this country still can’t get its act together and decide that we are not the enemy. My fellow Muslim brothers and sisters have been targeted ever since and because only a handful of radicalized Muslims did something bad.

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Bin Laden won.


Disclaimer: Am I disregarding the heroism during the 9/11 attacks? No. What happened happened, and the people who ran into the buildings did so to save the lives of their fellow human beings. I will never match the heroism displayed on that day, and I honor their legacies as a fellow American, and as I have every year ever since I realized the gravity of the situation.