The Unforgettable Moment
Early in the morning I had been in the public library of Alexandria, Virginia. The library had not opened yet, so I had to wait outside the building and withstand the cold wind in September. Fortunately, the park in the library was neat and large enough for people to walk to keep their bodies warm.
As soon as the library door opened, I went in and immediately started doing my job as a volunteer officer. This volunteer work was not as a punishment for traffic violations as is the case for most of my other voluntary worker friends. My goal was to get the opportunity to improve my English that was still below average. I could not afford to intentionally enroll in an English course. As the wife of a Master’s student, my husband’s scholarship was just enough to cover his college expenses and the primary needs of our family, which consists of me, my husband, and my 1.5-year old daughter.
I straightened the books that were not arranged according to a predefined number sequence. I returned the books on the trolley to the shelves that were available according to the book categories. In the middle of my work, I heard a few staff and visitors discussing something in a serious manner. I did not know what had happened. The news was still not clear.
My supervisor, from Poland, called me. I had a phone call from my husband. He asked me to go home immediately since the situation was not safe for me – a Muslim woman. At that time, I did not know why he was worried but I followed his instructions. Although it was time I returned home, I had to wait in the library as the public transportation was temporarily suspended and certain roads were also closed.
I waited a few hours, and finally the good news came when my supervisor told me that the transportation system was functioning again. I put on my sweater and jacket, and then I went to the bus stop. The Metro bus that took me to the train station had to change its route under orders by the many police officers on the street. The passengers of the bus were only a few. All were silent, busy with their own thoughts.
Arriving at the station, I went on by train to the last destination on the yellow line. I called my husband from a public phone soon after I had arrived at the last stop. My husband just told me to be careful. He could not pick me up because he had to take care of my little daughter at home while I was working.
To reach my apartment, I still had to walk about two miles from the train station. The journey for me became longer than usual. Probably because I was too worried and confused about what had happened. When I was close to my apartment, my husband called out to me from behind the apartment window and advised me to walk faster into the apartment building. Upon reaching the apartment, my husband looked relieved. I saw he had been following the news from the TV in our small living room. There were reports that terrorists had destroyed the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia. The Al-Qaeda network was mentioned as the one responsible for this incident. The incident could endanger the Muslim minority in America.
I then understood why my husband was worried. I wear the headscarf, the identity of Muslim women clothing, which is very obvious to people who may be resentful to the Muslims. But thank God I reached home safely without any threat or disturbance. God has been with me, Alhamdulillah.
To commemorate the event of 9/11 ten years ago