Sept. 11, 2001--we have just arrived in our hosts' house in Chiba, Tokyo when we saw them sitting in front of their TV enrapt. we just came from a long flight and another long drive from the airport to their home. it was past 10pm and we were weary lugging in our bags. the hosts were not able to greet us at once so we sat beside them and watched as an airplane crashed into this tall building and people screamed. i initially thought it was a scene straight from a Bruce Willis movie since we could not understand anything with the voice over in Nihonggo. then we were told it was the World Trade Center in New York and it was a news cover happening almost in real time. i was already tired yet i felt my knees got weaker.
most of the days we had in Tokyo was spent watching the news. even if we could barely understand it their graphics and illustrations were pretty impressive. we didn't have that kind of news reporting yet back then in the Philippines.
a few days later we were on the 48th floor of the Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku for a view of the city. our host told us that we must still be very careful since there might be some prank terrorists in Tokyo. By that he meant people who only wanted to mimic any celebrated crime just for the heck of it. weird people eh!
when i went back home to Manila a couple of weeks later i was able to talk to an old friend who was then lovelorn and depressed. she called me up and in between sobs told me about her realization on the said tragedy, that at least her heartbreak is nothing compared to the loss of all those people who were victims of 9/11. that at least she was still alive and her loved ones were still okay. something like that. such a realization indeed.
stories and powerful photos now abound once again as we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks but i'd like the words of then New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani's "We will rebuild!' to reverberate most of all.
early this year i was able to visit Ground Zero, and yes on its site now is the rebuilding of the new towers which will include a memorial and a museum. it is a stark reminder that people's lives, like these buildings can still be rebuilt and rise from the ashes and tower once again. here's hoping that most if not all of the victims and their loved ones were able to rebuild their lives somehow.