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Perspective: Remember Mohammad Salman Hamdani

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It was just a few days after the 9/11 attacks as I walked into the classroom where my 8th grade students were waiting. I carried a sheet of paper in my hands and had a somber, pained expression on my face.

My students were skilled at reading my mood and immediately became quiet. “Kids,” I said, “our country has to be better than this.”

I began reading from the sheet, which described physical attacks against people whose only “crime” was to look Middle Eastern or South Asian. I shared with them the fact that Muslims — as well as a wide range of ethnic and religious group members — had themselves been victims of the terrorist attack on that tragic day.

Later, I would learn the name of one of those victims. The remains of Mohammad Salman Hamdani would be found in the rubble of the World Trade Center. Also found with him was his EMT medical bag. Hamdani had gone to the scene in an attempt to save lives, not to take them. He, and others like him, had done what Americans have always done in a tragedy -- reach out and offer help to those in need.

I'm Jim Kline, and that is my Perspective.

DeKalb County resident Jim Kline grew up in Genoa and earned a B.S. in Communications from the University of Illinois and an M.S. in Outdoor Teacher Education from Northern Illinois University.