Last night in synagogue, someone read this testimony by a survivor of 9-11. It moved me so much, I want to make a poem from it, but meanwhile, I thought I'd let you read it. It's part of a longer peace, but this is the gist of it.
It starts here:
My name is Usman Farman. 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 [also worked in there].. Some made it out, and some are still buried under the rubble.
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….. 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 and I fell down trying to get away.
I was on my back, facing this massive cloud that was approaching… everything was already dark. I normally wear a pendant around my neck, inscribed with an Arabic prayer for safety. . 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 "Brother, if you don't mind, there is a cloud of glass coming at us, grab my hand, let’s get the hell out of here." 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 weren't for him, I probably would have been engulfed in shattered glass and debris.
I have heard many such testimonies of survivors and also those of family members of those who did not survive. The sense of unreality of the whole event, precisely the feeling I felt, and that I'd wager all of us felt, hearing about it or watching it the very first time, as it was happening that Tuesday morning, envelopes me afresh when I hear these stories.