Indian-born doctor Sneha Philip is officially listed as the 2751st victim of 9/11. But for years after her disappearance, Sneha’s final hours were shrouded in mystery. She was last seen the day before the attacks, captured on camera by a Manhattan department store. When she didn’t return home that night, as she frequently didn’t, her husband Ron thought little of it. After the attacks, he returned to their apartment, only to find it empty. The windows left open, dust had settled throughout, though the only tracks left were those of their 2 kittens.
When police initially determined that Sneha had perished in the attacks, Ron took matters into his own hands. After hiring private investigator Ken Gallant and reviewing the evidence, the pair eventually agreed, theorising that Sneha had rushed to the site to provide medical help, and died in the ensuing collapse. However, when police began to investigate further, they came up with a different theory entirely. A respectable New York doctor to the outside world, Sneha led something of a double life - suffering from alcohol and drug abuse, marital problems, work dismissals and even trouble with the law, having spent a night in jail earlier that year. On September 10th, the last day Sneha was seen alive, she had been officially charged with falsely reporting an incident, to which she pleaded not guilty. According to police reports, she and her husband fought loudly at the courthouse, in the last exchange Ron would ever share with his wife. With this in mind, authorities suggested she may have intentionally disappeared, or even been murdered, on the day before the attacks.
Ron strongly opposed the claims made against Sneha, along with various members of her family. They claimed she had been fired not due to her alcoholism, but because her superiors had deemed her a whistleblower. Conceding that though his wife did often spend nights at lesbian bars, Ron was sure that it was not for sexual purposes. The drinking, he hoped, was just a phase she was going through, and he denied ever arguing with Sneha on the day of her arraignment. After being struck from the list of victims, Sneha’s family appealed the ruling, and was she was eventually re-added 7 years later. Like over 1000 other victims that day, no physical remains of Sneha have ever been found.
“Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back.” - Mitch Albom
My uncle had a job interview at 8:30am in New York City inside the first tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001 (I know, what are the odds). On the train ride into the city, around 7:45, my uncle received a phone call from the boss saying the interview was moved until 10 am. When my uncle got into the city, he decided to have lunch around Penn Station and wait until 10 for his interview. At 8:46 AM, the first plane hit the tower he was supposed to be in. If that isn’t a miracle, I don’t know what is.
What i’m trying to get at is we have to start counting our blessings and stop taking simple luxuries like family and relationships for granted. Everyone tonight, especially Americans, should reflect on the 3,000 innocent lives lost on that horrific day, and realize that it could have been YOUR family inside of that tower, jumping 70+ stories onto solid concrete because the idea of sudden impact sounded a lot better than burning to death. Don’t take family for granted, don’t take life for granted, and please realize how fortunate you are that it wasn’t you or your family inside those buildings. And if it was your family, just know you are in my, and millions of Americans prayers tonight.
Two towers fall and a country is terrified for a few years.
Two towers fall
And an entire peoples are crippled for the rest of their life.
“Never forget,” they say.
How could I even dare to erase it from my mind?
On the day after the September 11th attacks
I felt America turn her back on me.
My parents told me things wouldn’t be the same,
That we might not be safe,
I was seven wondering why they kept playing the same scene
From an action movie on the television all week.
On September 12th, 2001
My dad cancelled 3 business meetings,
My mother didn’t go to work, never wore the hijab in public again
For the first time in my entire life, my grandmother did not go out to water the plants.
The officer at my elementary school says “Today you can’t come inside,”
If I knew what was happening them I would scream
“I have crayons in my bag, not bombs!”
I sat on the curb across from my school
Waited for the day to end,
Too ashamed to tell my parents to pick me up.
I didn’t understand, and I still don’t,
The dirty looks I get when I cross below the Mason-Dixon
How my family has, without fail,
Always been ‘randomly selected’ at airports.
My father changed his name for an entire year,
A name he once prided and cherished,
Because it got him on the no-fly list.
My mother cried on the phone
Trying to find a window repairman after the first brick.
My brother and I spent nights with my grandmother
Consoling her that she didn’t make the wrong decision coming to this country.
I can remember the kids at school asking about
‘Uncle Saddam.” Saying I smelled like a terrorist,
I remember begging my mom not to cook cultural dishes anymore.
My friend changed his name from ‘Osama’ to ‘Wali,’
His last name from ‘Hussein’ to ‘Badar’
Because they threatened to kill him and his family.
We prayed in classrooms in the corner edges of the school,
While Young Life had their annual fundraiser in the cafeteria.
They asked us where our turbans were,
If our parents drove camels.
We wanted to hate them,
We only ended up hating ourselves.
I have spent 21 years feeling like a villain in this skin I didn’t choose
For a religion I no longer practice
Watching my family, and my people,
Suffer for atrocities they would never commit.
Stop telling me to never forget,
Because I never fucking will.