September 11, 2001 has been noted in history as one of the most tragic days in the history of the United States of America. On that day, 19 militants associated with Al-Qaeda hijacked airplanes and killed thousands of people in the process. Two airplanes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City, while the third crashed into the Pentagon. There was a fourth plane, but it thankfully crashed in the middle of a Pennsylvania field and didn’t kill anyone. More than 3,000 people were killed.

This tragic day in 2001 under the George W. Bush administration has taken a toll on the United States ever since. We are more aware of terrorism, and we’ve taken precautions to make sure that nothing like that can ever happen to us again. It basically sparked the War on Terror.

Our war on terror begins with Al-Qaida, but it does not end there.It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated.” – George W. Bush

9/11 affected my family in ways that I wish I didn’t have to explain (but I will explain).

I’m half Filipino and half Iranian. I’ve never been ashamed of who I am or where my roots come from, because I believe that every place in the world is filled with positive humans who are good, loving people. That’s just fact. I can’t stand these assumptions where people hate someone based on where they came from. That being said, my dad’s side of the family is from Tehran, Iran.

Coming to the United States was a journey for them. They left Iran in the 1980’s when they sensed that they didn’t agree with the teachings of the new government. They packed up what they were allowed and went to Germany. They lived there until they could legally come to the United States, and they’ve been living here ever since. My grandma told me when she was little that moving to the United States was the one thing in love she knows she’ll never regret. I was a freshmen in high school when she died, but her telling me that is one of the fondest memories because I captured how much this country meant to her.

They came legally and followed all the rules. They (honestly) could have illegally come here, with the process being quicker, but they truly believe in coming the “right way,” so they did.

They followed all the rules and did everything to became legal citizens of the United States but they were never comfortable telling people where they came from.

The Middle East and the United States have had conflict for decades. They’ve never seemed to get along, because of the differences between the cultures. For the most part, citizens of the United States don’t like that Iran isn’t westernized. Because of that fact, my family has always just told people that they’re form Armenia. Frankly, it sounded better to them.

9/11 just made the situation worse. I was 3 years old when the attack occurred. I was too little to process it, so I don’t remember the day at all. It’s sad to think that something that impacted so many people was just another day to me. After the attack and after my family found out that the people responsible were from the middle east, everything changed.

They didn’t want me to tell people where my roots were from. I was supposed to say that I was born in the United States and not to expand on anything else. It was mostly for my own protection, because they didn’t want people making fun of me or making me feel inferior.

To this day, my family is still very hush hush about their roots. People outside my family don’t know where they’re actually from.

I got a question from my friend about writing this article. She asked me, “Aren’t you exposing them? You’re telling the world something that they haven’t wanted anyone to know?”

The answer is no. They don’t tell people because they fear their reaction. I, on the other hand, am not afraid. I will tell people where my roots are from because I love where I came from. My family are the people that they are today because of the things that they had to experience and there is nothing in the world that could stop me from sharing.

The lives lost in 9/11 can never be brought back– and that’s the bitter truth of it all. Innocent people died because of the actions of a few.

This article is dedicated to all the lives lost on that day. Wherever you are, I hope you’re all surrounded by happiness and light.

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” — Maya Angelou