Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 9/11

Dear U.S.A.,

I know today marks a very difficult time in your history.


Today, the country mourns your tragedy, remembers your fallen, and at the same time, celebrates the heroes and the resilience of your people

I prefer to call them HEROES rather than victims

I just wanted to let you know, that 9/11 was not just YOUR TRAGEDY, it was the WHOLE FREE WORLD's TRAGEDY .

It was so unfortunate that you had to suffer for what you represented to the whole world- the land of opportunity, peace, prosperity, equality and justice.

As an immigrant to this country, I just wanted to share my own story on this fateful day. Back then, I was still living in my home country-- The Philippines.

News Channel in the Philppines

It was evening, my dad was watching something intently on TV. I sat down with him thinking he was watching a great movie. I saw a burning tall building - "Is this a movie Dad?" He did not reply.


Then the second plane hit.  It slowly dawned on me, this was real... it was really happening - AMERICA was under attack and it was unfolding right before our eyes - the beginning of WORLD WAR 3 ?!

I was 18,000 miles away from New York. But the shock and fear was very real and palpable

As a brand new mom with an 11 month old son sleeping a few feet away, I knew that this event will change everything, including the real possibility of a world war. My first instinct then was to call my husband who was working night shift at the Philippine General Hospital (Probably the same gut reaction a lot of people around the world had in response to something this horrible unfold). He was oblivious of what was going on until my call. I told him what was unfolding, through the sobs and all and blurted out my fears. He advised me to stop watching TV and stay in the room with my son. But I couldn't help but watch... Even though I didn’t know anyone in New York at that time,  I was crying the whole time because I knew that in those burning tower  innocent people were dying  while we were actually watching! It just didn't make sense for anyone to die under this circumstance and for some people to do this on purpose. 

The collapse

We ALL followed what was happening to you. The whole world followed... scared for you and for themselves. Nothing could justify what happened to you and your people.

We saw how the country came together as one. We heard the stories of witnesses and of course, the heroes' families stories. We were all mourning, praying, hoping and fighting for you.

We wanted America to fight and the whole world to rally for it because we know what America stands for – it is a power for goodAnd we all believe that PEACE, JUSTICE and FREEDOM are the fundamental NEEDS of ALL human beings here on earth. And knowing that, if such a tragedy can happen to the most powerful country on earth, what more to ours too.

Five years after 9/11, I never thought that I would be living and working here in the U.S.A.. Living here now, makes me understand more, WHY this tragedy brought out THE BEST IN ITS PEOPLE, made me see, it's meaning more not just to those directly affected but to everyone. I have been fortunate to witness first hand  how you rose up from the ashes and gave meaning again to the word persistence and hope.

Eleven years after, the people cry out in their hearts this day's motto - WE WILL NEVER FORGET, WE WILL NEVER SURRENDER. And to add on to this,  the rest of the world echoes the same words.

God bless You and God bless everyone.


Dr. Claravel Baricuatro-Criste

1 comment:

  1. That was so beautifully said, Vel. Thank you for sharing your perspective from that day, it is amazing how Americans and particularly people in New York came together at such a sad and terrifying time. I'm so glad you shared this with me today!


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