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9-11: One year later in New York City
KurdishMedia.com - By Jeff Klein   11 September 2002
The 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.

Tyler Ugolyn
Tyler UgolynI 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 couldn’t.

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 die.

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 met him.

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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