Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where was I?

My friend followthatdog asked 'where where you?'

I was just thinking about it.
I had sent my parents, who were visiting, off to SFO to catch a flight to Las Vegas when geekdaddy called me from the road to turn on the TV. I turned it on in time to watch the second plane hit.

My folks never got on their plane, but were bussed back into central San Francisco. They were unnerved at being dropped downtown surrounded by the tall buildings, but impressed with the calm way the airport staff handled the unprecendented event, and by the kindness of the people around them.

I decided to go to work, I was a postdoctoral researcher at UCSF at the time. I sat on the shuttle bus, unsure of my decision to leave the house. I was aware of every sound, sitting there with my heart in my mouth, expecting any moment to hear that the transamerica building or one of the bridges had been attacked

Like the world trade center, our lab was a true multiculteral melting pot. Being there with so many citizens of other nations joined in shock and horror at this terrible attack on our adopted country felt right.

Though the events of September 11th 2001 made me feel more American in my identity, what stuck me the most was how many nations lost citizens in that strike on an American building.

It was a strike not just against Americans, but again the fabulous diversity, multiculturalism, idealism and openness that America represents. I am saddened that 7 years on, the reputation of this country has been tarnished by the repercussions of that day. Maybe the way to fight back against terrorism is not to close borders but to open them, because by keeping our borders open we can continue to open minds.