Like many, 9/11 brings forth a lot of emotions in me. Though it was far away, United Airlines flight 175 was headed towards my local airport, Los Angeles International, and the deaths of its passengers was directly felt around Southern California, my home. Not long afterward, I began what would become 8 years of intensive study of Middle East politics and close friendships with a number of Arab and Muslim Americans. I also was and am a proud son of U.S. military veterans and in a family of very diverse political and cultural backgrounds. As you might guess, conflicting emotions, and opinions, were a constant of my life. It’s hard to say what exact effect 9/11 had on me, but I can say that I directly felt its turbulence throughout nearly my entire teenage and adult life.

Today, as I sit remembering 9/11, this is the first time that it feels like a distant memory instead of an ongoing and haunting fact of life. I’m not sure what else to say, other than I still feel it, and that the tragedy still saddens and frightens me, while also furthering my resolve to do my part to help make sure neither it nor the acrimony that followed happen again.

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