More than a decade after that dreadful day, 9/11 memories are still fresh for me. The intense, flesh-cutting urgency of the pain has diminished. I am no longer a grieving mother. I have learned to live with the loss of my son, Mohammad Salman Hamdani. But I am still waiting for justice.
What I want is not complicated — a recognition that, when Salman died beneath the rubble that day, he died as a first responder. His name should be reflected that way at the 9/11 Memorial, properly listed among the other first responders who rushed bravely toward the flames.
On that terrible day, my husband Saleem and I could not know where Salman was. Nor could his brothers, Adnaan and Zeshan, know what had become of their Bhaijaan, the Urdu word for a beloved and revered elder brother. As anyone who lost a loved one on 9/11 knows, that uncertainty was cruel and crushing. We couldn’t know it then, but what had happened to Salman that morning, along with the events of the following months, changed everything for our family, bringing unbearable pain into our lives and suddenly making us public persons.