"To think how cruel somebody could be to hurt so many innocent people,” says junior Nazreat Hagos, voicing a sentiment felt nationwide in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11. But Hagos' feelings on war run deeper than many citizens. Not only do her parents work just blocks away from the Pentagon, but she had previously suffered from war's horror.
Hagos has lost an aunt, a grandparent and at least four cousins to the ongoing war in Ethiopia over its borders with her home country of Eritrea. It was this war that motivated her parents to flee Eritrea to neighboring Sudan, where Hagos was born. Escaping Eritrea, however was no easy task for a soldier in its army.
With tears in her eyes, Hagos explains that the Eritrean government forced her father to fight, thus robbing him of an opportunity to go to school and fulfill his dreams. Also, armed rebels were everywhere in the country, threatening members of the Eritrean Army.
Recognizing the irreparable damage done to the lives of their loved ones, the Hagos family left Sudan for the U.S., a country then devoid of military conflict and full of promising educational opportunities for Nazreat and her sister.
Both parents were at work on that fateful September morning, a few blocks away from the attacked building. The 9:20 loudspeaker announcement began over seven hours of agonizing worry and uncertainty for Hagos. "All I could do was wait. The TV was on, but that wasn't any help. I didn't know whether they were safe or not. I prayed for them,” she recounts emotionally.
As for many of the more fortunate Pentagon families, hours of apprehension ended with a reunion, with everyone safe at home. But the sense of security promises to be fleeting.
Though a formal declaration has yet to be made, President George W. Bush made clear in his Sept 11 speech that the United States will now wage war against terrorism.
War is certainly no stranger to Hagos, and though she believes the impending conflict will not hit as close to home as both the Eritrean war and Sept 11’s terrorist attacks have, Hagos's life experiences have made her grateful for each and every breath she takes. She asserts, "I already knew from the start never to take anything for granted because you never know when you're going to be taken from this world.”
Additional reporting by Elizabeth Green.
L.A. Holmes. L.A. Holmes is a SENIOR!! ('03 Baby!) in the Communication Arts Program. L.A. currently reigns as Managing Opinions and Editorials Editor of <i>Silver Chips</i> with her dear friend, Rachel Yood, and she is the first in <i>Silver Chips</i> history to hold the hotly contested and … More »