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Point of View: Act against humanity changed life forever

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“One moment you’re just going through the routine of another day, and the next moment your life is shattered,” said Darrell Scott whose daughter, Rachel, was brutally gunned down on April 20, 1999 while sitting on the grass, eating her lunch, at Columbine High School in Colorado.

We all can understand the feeling, especially after Sept. 11.

The number of deaths may go higher once the rubble is removed in a year or so. On an average days, tens of thousands of people worked at and visited the Twin Towers, a magnificent landmark of New York City and a symbol of the world’s financial center. Many foreign tourists and undocumented aliens probably were unaccounted for in the death toll.

I was surprised to learn that the husband of my wife’s sister almost became one of the attack victims. He is a computer expert who had worked on the 103rd floor in the North Tower. He didn’t get to his office on time that day because he overslept. More than 600 of his colleagues, however, were reported missing and presumed dead.

The terrorists are evil-doers coaxed to become “martyrs” at the sacrifice of innocent lives. Islamic fanatics glorified the suspected hijackers, and their portraits were being displayed at a makeshift museum in Afghanistan. Family members took pride in their suicide attacks on American soil.

On the other hand, thousands of Americans and families of about 80 foreign countries are grieving over the loss of their loved ones and friends working at the center.

It was an act against humanity.

Peace-loving people everywhere should join forces to fight our common enemy — the terrorists. Defeat them we must, otherwise we can no longer enjoy peace, freedom and prosperity.

The terrorists, it has been reported, may resort to biological and chemical weapons in their next move to kill Americans or people of other countries supporting anti-terrorism efforts. U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said authorities had detained several suspicious individuals seeking to obtain licenses to haul hazardous materials.

These reports are causing jitters among Americans, especially New Yorkers. As a result, many people rush to specialty stores to buy masks and other life-protection gears.

A friend said that her boss urged her to hoard bottled water for fear the terrorists may contaminate our drinking water and spread chemical dust over New York. Another friend even talked about moving from Brooklyn to upstate or other safer places. We should not let panic control our life — that’s what the terrorists want.

The ripple effect of the assault is obviously far and wide. Psychologically and economically, it affects almost every American as well as people in other parts of the world. The tragedy traumatizes a lot of families and could force thousands of Americans to change their lifestyles forever.

And the attack may cost New York City as much as $105 billion over the next two years, the city comptroller’s office said.

Airlines and tourism are hit hardest. Exactly two weeks after the attacks, I drove a friend to LaGuardia Airport. There were few people purchasing tickets at American Airlines or United Airlines. It seems travelers now choose smaller ones, like American Trans Air. Corporate layoffs increase with each passing day. We are in a mild (so far) recession.

However, Washington’s swift action to aid those displaced by the terror attack should be applauded. A friend who survived this tragic event has gotten financial assistance with little red tape from the federal government, Red Cross, Salvation Army and other nonprofit organizations.

Americans are generous people. Everyone from celebrities to we “ordinary” people have opened their hearts and wallets to help the disaster-relief work.

Also, to show their patriotism and love, many groups across the nation held events to raise funds for families of the victims. Locally, the Chinese-American community in the metropolitan area staged two variety shows at Flushing High School on Sept. 30. The admission proceeds also went to families of the victims.

Posted 7:25 pm, October 10, 2011
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