9/11 happened to all of us

Ellis Island flag, September 11, 2001

As we pause to remember how our lives were changed 9 years ago, let’s remember that all of us were attacked — not just those who died in New York, DC, and Pennsylvania, but all Americans; parents, siblings, children, loved ones; Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists; native born and immigrant. All of us lost something that day.

I saw a simple little poem somewhere a few days after the attacks that I wish I could find again. It was written by an Asian-American or a Jewish-American or perhaps a Muslim-American. I can’t recite the poem, but I’ll never forget its title: “The Day I Lost My Hyphen.”

Please, America, let’s all forget the hyphens and just be Americans.

4 thoughts on “9/11 happened to all of us

  1. You know, I thought I’d be able to keep it together a little better after nine years, but the title to that lost poem really brought it all back. I remember having similar sentiments that day as well. I only wish the unifying wave had lasted a bit longer.

    Wanting to read the poem very badly, I did a quick search and think I may have found it at USATODAY.com – Readers respond with words, poetry, near the bottom of the page.

    1. That’s it! Thank you, thank you. This time I’ve carefully saved a copy.

      The Day I lost My Hyphen

      Frantic, worried, wife didn’t call, the day I lost my hyphen.
      Plane fell many died, black, white, yellow the day I lost my hyphen.
      No more African-American once the second plane hit, the day I lost my
      United in sorrow, pain, anger, courage, resolve and love of God, family
      and of my country.
      Day of infamy, no my day to stand, my day of rebirth, no longer
      African-American but an American on the day I lost my hyphen.

      — Reuben D. Eckels, 38, Wichita, Kansas

  2. I couldn’t agree more with your sentiment. It happened to all of us because we are all Americans. After nine years I still find myself solemn and grief-stricken. I pray for us all. And too, I wish like your other reader that the wave of unity had lasted longer.


... and that's my two cents