|9-11: One year later in New York City
|KurdishMedia.com - By Jeff Klein 11
lives of many were forever changed one year ago on this very day. On
September 11, 2001, the United States of America came under attack from
terrorists who sought to strike at the heart of the nation. I remember
that day like it was yesterday, and I cannot believe that a year has
passed since that most terrible day of my life.
could not believe what was happening. Various conflicting emotions ran
through my mind. Manhattan was cut off from the outside world. All phone
lines were jammed, all bridges and roads were blocked, and the skies
were completely free of air traffic with the exception of military
aircraft. I sent messages to friends and family via Internet to assure
them that I was safe. I talked with friends in my area, and, at one
point, sat down to write an article. I wanted to write about my feelings
and experiences on this day. I tried to write and I could not. I did not
know if I should be writing. For some reason, I felt that writing an
article may have been wrong. I felt guilty about wanting to write. I
I still remember every detail of the day. I remember the beautiful
weather. I remember which friends I spoke with. I remember talking to a
local chaplain about the event, and I remember him telling me that he
knew that many of his friends undoubtedly died earlier that morning. I
remember talking to a friend of mine outside who said that she was
hungry, but, for some reason, felt guilty about wanting to eat. I
remember finally going to dinner with a few of my friends at our
favorite restaurant. We told a few jokes and tried to get our minds off
the tragedy that had just occurred 12 hours earlier. We talked to the
owner of the restaurant, a good friend of ours, and he asked me if I
heard that one of our friends was still missing. I told him that I had.
The next day, September 12, 2001, the wind picked up. All of Manhattan
began to smell. It was the smell of rubble from the World Trade Center.
It was the smell of death. I sat down with fighter jets flying low over
my head, with the air smelling of the remains of what would become the
final resting place of many innocent people who would never receive a
proper burial, and I tried to write once again. I could finally write. I
wrote “When America meets Kurdistan, our life changes forever (http://www.kurdmedia.com/reports.asp?id=541)”.
On any given day, I can probably recite every detail of that article.
The mental images of the incidents I describe in that article remain
burned into my consciousness, where they will remain until the day I
At the moment I wrote this article, I still had not heard about the fate
of my friend who was missing. In the days to come I found out that he
was dead. I attended his memorial services. His body was never found,
and he never received a proper burial.
His name was Tyler Victor Ugolyn. Tyler was a difficult person not to
know. At 6’4’’, he stood out in a crowd. He was always smiling, and he
was always polite. He was very religious and involved in various
community service projects in New York City. He was a great athlete, and
I was fortunate enough to have lifted weights with him on a few
occasions. I remember conversations I had with him about the various
topics, and I remember him being a gracious host when I attended one of
his parties. Before I knew him, I saw the way he interacted with people.
He was always friendly, and people always wanted to talk to him. I
wanted to get to know him, too, and I am happy that I was able to have
He graduated Columbia University in May 2001, and soon thereafter began
work at his dream job as a research associate at Fred Alger Management,
Inc., a well-known investment management firm with offices in one of the
upper levels of the World Trade Center. Sometimes I see people or things
who remind me of Tyler. One day, months after the tragedy, I walked into
the gym to lift weights, and I saw someone who I thought was Tyler,
before I remembered.
It is difficult to express such complicated emotions in writing. I never
thought that I would lose a friend to terrorism, especially not on
American soil. I miss him and there is nothing I can do. Everyday there
are reminders of the tragedy. Some days they have more impact on me than
others. One Sunday I sat down in my apartment to read a copy of the New
York Times, and I found myself reading about the terrorist attacks once
again. I thought of Tyler and all of the innocent people who were
murdered, and all of the families who lost their loved ones so suddenly.
I asked myself how someone could do such a thing, and I actually began
to cry by myself.
Even writing this article was very difficult. However, I feel like it is
something I had to do. I would feel guilty if I had not written it. I
did not feel like writing a political article about the tragedy of
September 11, 2001, at least not right now. More than anything, I just
wanted to write about my friend Tyler Ugolyn, and share with the world
how great of a person he really was.
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