[CW: war stuff]
I was in my high school's band room on September 11, 2001. It was 8:30am and we were all waiting to go to class, like normal. Then the band director came in with a piece of paper in his hand and a furrowed brow. He stopped halfway between the door and his conductor's podium, as though he didn't quite know where to stand to say what he had to say. Everyone got quiet.
Then he said, "There's been an attack on the United States. A plane has flown into the World Trade Center in New York City." A kid I knew named Brad, a pretty good trumpet player, shot up out of his seat. He ran for the exit. His dad worked in the World Trade Centers. We were in Danbury, CT, a medium-sized town an hour and a half north of New York City. We followed the attacks throughout the day in school, watching on TVs and refreshing news sites online.
Twenty years later, almost to the month, as American troops pull out of Afghanistan begun in 2001, Emal Ahmad was pulling into his driveway in Kabul. He was working with a nonprofit called whose is to fight malnutrition among women and children in high mortality areas of the Afghanistan. He let his teenage son drive his jeep into the house. They were met by his brother's children, toddlers and young kids, who jumped around the car. Then there was an explosion. A drone missile struck the car, gruesomely The US suspected Ahmad, specifically his car, for being involved in a suicide bombing at the Kabul airport checkpoint the previous day, killing 13 American soldiers and 80 Afghans. The US officially left the next day.