Discussion in 'General Lounge' started by Nave, Sep 21, 2001.

  1. Nave

    Nave Well-Known Member

    The following was sent to me this morning. I urge you to read it for inspiration. As I am typing this note, I am finding myself wiping my eyes as I am still thinking about what I just read. But be careful, once you start reading it, you will not be able to stop.
    - Rabbi Eli Lâ??hitraot
    My name is Usman Farman and I graduated from Bentley with a Finance degree
    last May. I am 21 years old, turning 22 in October; I am Pakistani, and I am
    Muslim. Until September 10th 2001, I used to work at the World Trade Center
    in building #7. I had friends and acquaintances who worked in tower #1 right
    across from me. Some made it out, and some are still unaccounted for. I
    survived this horrible event.
    Iâ??d like to share with you what I went through that awful day, with the hopes
    that we can all stay strong together; through this tragedy of yet untold
    proportions. As I found out, regardless of who we are, and where we come
    from, we only have each other.
    I commute into the city every morning on the train from New Jersey. Rather, I
    used to. I still canâ??t believe what is happening. That morning I woke up and
    crawled out of bed. I was thinking about flaking out on the train and
    catching the late one, I remember telling myself that I just had to get to
    work on time. I ended up catching the 7:48 train, which put me in Hoboken at
    8:20 am. When I got there I thought about getting something to eat, I decided
    against it and took the PATH train to the World Trade Center. I arrived at
    the World Trade at 8:40 in the morning. I walked into the lobby of building 7
    at 8:45, thatâ??s when the first plane hit.
    Had I taken the late train, or gotten a bite to eat, I would have been 5
    minutes late and walking over the crosswalk. Had that happened, I would have
    been caught under a rain of fire and debris, I wouldnâ??t be here talking to
    you. Iâ??d be dead.
    I was in the lobby, and I heard the first explosion; it didnâ??t register. They
    were doing construction outside and I thought some scaffolding had fallen. I
    took the elevators up to my office on the 27th floor. When I walked in, the
    whole place was empty. There were no alarms, no sprinklers, nothing. Our
    offices are, or rather, were on the south side of building seven. We were
    close enough to the North and South Towers, that I could literally throw a
    stone from my window and hit the North tower with it.
    My phone rang and I spoke with my mother and told her that I was leaving, at
    that moment I saw an explosion rip out of the second building. I called my
    friend in Boston, waking her up and told her to tell everyone Iâ??m okay, and
    that I was leaving. I looked down one last time and saw the square and
    fountain that I eat lunch in, was covered in smoldering debris. Apparently, I
    was one of the last to leave my building, when I was on the way up in the
    elevators; my co-workers from the office were in the stairwells coming down.
    When I evacuated, there was no panic. People were calm and helping each
    other; a pregnant woman was being carried down the stairwell.
    Iâ??ll spare the more gruesome details of what I saw, those are things that
    no-one should ever have to see, and beyond human decency to describe. Those
    are things which will haunt me for the rest of my life, my heart goes out to
    everyone who lost their lives that day, and those who survived with the
    painful reminders of what once was. Acquaintances of mine who made it out of
    the towers, only got out because 1000 people formed a human chain to find
    their way out of the smoke. Everyone was a hero that day.
    We were evacuated to the north side of building 7. Still only 1 block from
    the towers. The security people told us to go north and not to look back. 5
    city blocks later I stopped and turned around to watch. With a thousand
    people staring, we saw in shock as the first tower collapsed. No-one could
    believe it was happening, it is still all too-surreal to imagine. The next
    thing I remember is that a dark cloud of glass and debris about 50 stories
    high came tumbling towards us. I turned around and ran as fast as possible. I
    didnâ??t realize until yesterday that the reason Iâ??m still feeling so sore was
    that I fell down trying to get away. What happened next is why I came here to
    give this speech.
    I was on my back, facing this massive cloud that was approaching, it must
    have been 600 feet off, everything was already dark. I normally wear a
    pendant around my neck, inscribed with an Arabic prayer for safety; similar
    to the cross. A Hasidic Jewish man came up to me and held the pendant in his
    hand, and looked at it. He read the Arabic out loud for a second. What he
    said next, I will never forget. With a deep Brooklyn accent he said,
    â??Brother, if you donâ??t mind, there is a cloud of glass coming at us, grab my
    hand, letâ??s get the hell out of here.â? He helped me stand up, and we ran for
    what seemed like forever without looking back. He was the last person I would
    ever have thought, who would help me. If it werenâ??t for him, I probably would
    have been engulfed in shattered glass and debris.
    I finally stopped about 20 blocks away, and looked in horror as tower #2 came
    crashing down. Fear came over me as I realized that some people were
    evacuated to the streets below the towers. Like I said before, no-one could
    have thought those buildings could collapse. We turned around and in shock
    and disbelief and began the trek to midtown. It took me 3 hours to get to my
    sisters office at 3rd Avenue and 47th Street. Some streets were completely
    deserted, completely quiet, no cars, no nothingâ?¦ just the distant wail of
    sirens. I managed to call home and say I was okay, and get in touch with
    co-workers and friends whom I feared were lost.
    We managed to get a ride to New Jersey. Looking back as I crossed the George
    Washington Bridge, I could not see the towers. It had really happened.
    As the world continues to reel from this tragedy, people in the streets are
    lashing out. Not far from my home, a Pakistani woman was run over on purpose
    as she was crossing the parking lot to put groceries in her car. Her only
    fault? That she had her head covered and was wearing the traditional clothing
    of my homeland. I am afraid for my familyâ??s well-being within our community.
    My older sister is too scared to take the subway into work now. My 8 year old
    sisterâ??s school is under lockdown and armed watch by police.
    Violence only begets violence, and by lashing out at each other in fear and
    hatred, we will become no better than the faceless cowards who committed this
    atrocity. If it werenâ??t for that man who helped me get up, I would most
    likely be in the hospital right now, if not dead. Help came from the least
    expected place, and goes only to show, that we are all in this together â?¦
    regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity. Those are principles that this
    country was founded on.
    Please take a moment to look at the people sitting around you. Friends or
    strangers, In a time of crisis, you would want the nearest person to help you
    if you needed it. My help came from a man who I would never have thought
    would normally even speak to me. Ask yourselves now how you can help those
    people in New York and Washington. You can donate blood, you can send
    clothing, food, and money. Funds have been setup in the New York area to help
    the families of fallen firefighters, policemen, and emergency personnel. The
    one thing that wonâ??t help, is if we fight amongst ourselves, because it is
    then that we are doing exactly what they want us to do, and I know that
    nobody here wants to do that.
    My name is Usman Farman and I graduated from Bentley with a Finance degree
    last May. I am 21 years old, turning 22 in October; I am Pakistani, and I am
    Muslim, and I too have been victimized by this awful tragedy. The next time
    you feel angry about this, and perhaps want to retaliate in your own way,
    please remember these words: â??Brother, if you donâ??t mind, there is a cloud
    of glass coming at us, grab my hand, letâ??s get he hell out of here.â?

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