September 5, 2011
Voices In Mourning:
The Families of those who died are still grieving, each in their own way.
The Daily Beast from Newsweek Magazine
A New York City teacher, Talat Hamdani is a widow and mother of three. One of her children, Mohammed Salman Hamdani, was killed on Sept. 11, 2001. He was a New York Police Department cadet and a certified emergency medical technician who responded to the attack on the World Trade Center on the way to his job as a lab technician.
Twenty-five days after 9/11 we decided to go to Mecca to pray to find Salman. Before we left I said I was going to call the morgue, because they were telling people on television to come and identify their loved ones. It took a lot of courage for me to make the decision to go and look at the dead bodies, but I said, “If I am going over to Mecca to get an answer whether he is alive or dead, let’s look at the dead bodies; if he’s among them, then I don’t need to make the trip.” Just for my own satisfaction I called the number the armory had given me. I don’t know if I misdialed, but they asked, “How did you get this number? Why are you calling here?” I explained that I had been given this number by the armory for information if I needed to investigate my missing son’s case. I gave him Salman’s name, and he said, “Oh, he is a Pakistani?” I said, “Yes, he was born there, but he is an American.”
On Saturday, when my husband, Salmeen, and I were going into Manhattan to the morgue, that detective kept calling us: “Where are you now? Are you going there? What are you doing?” But when we arrived there, it was the Red Cross; there was no morgue; there were no bodies to be identified. So why did they send me there? I don’t understand. I wanted to see the bodies. And all the hospitals I called gave me the same statement: “We have fifteen victims; fifteen patients came in. We cannot give you their names, but your son’s name is not on our list. And you are not allowed to see anybody to identify.” No other parents had to go through what we had to go through. It was horrible. Such a great injustice. You give your life, try to save your fellow Americans, and then this nation goes after you, calling you a terrorist.
I want people of all nations to remember my son Salman as an American, and as a hero who gave his life saving his fellow Americans…He and the other people who died that day were killed not because of their faith or race or ethnicity, but because they were Americans.