I was in Vietnam when my mom called. She asked me, “Haven’t you heard what happened?” I replied, “No.” She said, “The terrorists crashed airplanes into two tall buildings in New York.” I was numbed and devastated. I couldn’t recall what we talked about after that.
Then it was all over newspapers and TVs in Vietnam. It was the topic at restaurants and coffee shops. I listened to family, friends, and strangers talking about it, but I had nothing to say. I was in my homeland, and yet I missed my home in America. Even though I just went back to Vietnam for the first time since I migrated to the U.S. a decade earlier, I wanted to go home to America to grieve with my fellow Americans.
A few months before the tragic attack, I graduated from college, but couldn’t find a job in web design. I took a trip back to Vietnam to see my dad and to see if I could make a change with my life. The 9-11 tragedy made me realize that I was an American. Vietnam had become my past. America was where my heart was. I went back to America to start my career and my life.
Twenty years have gone by, but the memories will always remain. We will never forget the deadliest terrorist attack on our soil. It broke us, but also brought us together and made us stronger as a nation. Our skin color and our political view didn’t matter. We were the United States of America.
Unfortunately, we’re now deeply divided as if we’re living in the same place but in a different universe. I hope that the twentieth anniversary of this tragic event reminds us that we can still come together despite our differences.