Disclaimer: This conversation includes graphic content, violence, and other mature themes that some may find triggering or disturbing. Listener discretion is advised.
On September 11, 2001, life as we knew it changed forever. From the devastating attacks to the hijacked planes to the Pentagon to the first responders-- many lives were lost, and families were destroyed. These events were monumental moments in history, but they also made seemingly small, daily moments that most take for granted an impossibility for some. Some children would never know what it's like to feel their mom or dad's hands in theirs, and some would never even meet their parent. Husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, daughters, and sons never returned to the dinner table or had the chance to pick up the phone to hear the latest news from their family. There were so many victims from all walks of life and categories.
One community not often thought of as victims of 9/11 is the Muslim community. After 9/11, rampant fear and anger raced through the US, leading to an increase in hate crimes against the Muslim community. In today's conversation, Rais Bhiyuan, an immigrant from Bangladesh, shares his story. He grew up watching classic Western television shows portraying a wholesome, positive image of the American Cowboy. These stories depicted cowboys standing up for the ideals that this country represents, inspiring the rest of the world to follow suit. Rais came to America to experience this for himself. However, in the days following 9/11, a man with a mission to harm anyone from the Muslim community walked in and ultimately shot Rais in the face.
Thankfully and miraculously, my guest survived. As if the trauma of being shot wasn't enough, his recovery was arduous, and figuring out how to pay for urgently needed medical treatments without insurance became another traumatic nightmare that added to his ordeal. What's remarkable is not only Rais' survival but also how he chose to respond to his shooter and how he chose to move forward despite this life-changing pain.
This is a powerful story of survival, goodness, unbelievable resilience, empathy, and love for one's country. Listen in as Rais shares details of what happened that awful day, how he managed to survive, what he's learned, and you'll be absolutely amazed at what he's doing now.
We shall never forget 9/11 and those we lost. Yes, it was a devastating day with unimaginable loss and pain, and yes there was palpable fear and hate, but there was also a beautiful display of unity, love, bravery, and humanity that emerged in the aftermath of 9/11. We all exemplified the very principles that America represents—and that is something we should never forget. Because during the darkest days in US history, we were at our absolute best.
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