In Memoriam


In remembrance of the day, this:

from My Invented Country
Isabel Allende

Until only a short time ago, if someone had asked me where I'm from, I would have answered without much thought, Nowhere; or Latin America; or, maybe, In my heart I'm Chilean. Today, however, I say I'm an American, not simply because that's what my passport verifies, or because that word includes all of America from north to south, or because my husband, my son, my grandchildren, most of my friends, my books, and my home are in northern California; but because a terrorist attack destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center, and starting with that instant, many things have changed. We can't be neutral in moments of crisis. This tragedy has brought me face to face with my sense of identity. I realize today that I am one person in the multicolored population of North America, just as before I was Chilean. I no longer feel that I am so alien in the United States. When I watched the collapse of the towers, I had a sense of having lived in a nearly identical nightmare. By a blood-chilling coincidence--historic karma--the commandeered airplanes struck their U.S. targets on a Tuesday, September 11, exactly the same day of the week and month--and almost the same time in the morning --of the 1973 military coup in Chile, a terrorist act orchestrated by the CIA against a democracy. The images of burning buildings, smoke, flames, and panic are similar in both settings. That distant Tuesday in 1973 my life was split in two; nothing was ever again the same: I lost a country. That fateful Tuesday in 2001 was also a decisive moment, nothing will ever again be the same, and I gained a country.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 11, 2003 7:31 AM.

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