Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years Later: 9/11 From the Perspective of an Expatriate

Like Pearl Harbor for the WWII generation and the day John F. Kennedy was assinated for my parents, September 11, 2001 will be a "this is where I was" day for my generation. I was living in South Korea at the time. Five years later during the evening and at about the same time I heard about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center, I'm still living in South Korea.

The thing is 9/11 touched all Americans. It touched people all over the world. The lady who sold me my diabetic supplies at the time came out to give me a big hug the day I came in after 9/11. Of course, those who were at the sites and, unfortunately, those who either lost their lives or lost loved ones feel it in a way that I can never imagine. God willing, this is something that I'll talk about with my children and my grandchildren. However, no matter where we were whether it was Ground Zero or halfway across the world, I'm certain that 9/11 is an event that has impacted us in a myriad of ways and put its mark on a generation. Upon reflection, although I've always been interested in international issues, I think 9/11 might be one big reason I'm pursuing international studies and diplomacy and security now. I'm sure many life paths were changed due to 9/11 events.

For me, it was the start of my second year living and working in Korea. I'd recently bought a car. I was enjoying my adventure of living in a foreign country. I'd just moved to Daegu for a new job at another university. It was late in the evening and, as was my habit when I was in California, I was taking a late night drive. I was excited because I was learning the layout of the new city I was in, enjoying my freedom by exploring and enjoying the radio show that was on. Daegu has US military bases, so they have English radio and TV. I was listening a morning radio show that was being broadcasted in from the States on AFN, and that's when I heard it.

I was in the middle of the city somewhere and they said a plane flew into the World Trade Center. Like everyone, I was thinking "what a terrible accident!" Then they came back on a few minutes later and said another plane hit the other tower. Again, like everyone, I realized then that someone had launched an attack against my country. I turned my car around, made it to the expressway and got myself home.

I'd just moved from a small city named Yeosu in the Jeollanamdo province, and my apartment was still sparsely furnished. I hadn't even bought a TV yet, so I went straight to the local internet cafe and plugged into the net. That cafe had a big screen TV, so I watched 9/11 unfold that way. Needless to say, I was dumbfounded when the towers fell, and I stayed up all night, cancelled my classes the next day and went to Wal-Mart and bought a brand new TV the next day.

All sorts of things went through my head watching the events unfold that night. I was assaulted with all sorts of feelings. Five years down the line those feelings are still there and, I think, they'll always be.

I had a much longer piece written out, but I decided to keep it short and simple. The feeling I want to focus on is hope. I hope that we can repair the reputation of the USA worldwide because I think that's a necessary component to winning this war. I believe that we can and will win this war on terror.

I hope that we're all taking this as seriously as we took the Long Telegram and the Cold War and because it's that serious if not more so.

A list of the victims from Pink is the New Blog. It's usually a gossip blog, but all gossip was suspended today in honor of those fallen on 9/11/2001.

9/11 Articles and Analysis:
Winning or Losing?
Nation Marks Fifth Anniversary of 9/11
Sept. 11's Ripple Effect

Carnival of the Blogging Chicks #13 Sept. 11

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