It was nighttime in my native Philippines when the attacks occurred in the United States. I think I had just come home from dance practice. My mom was watching TV. I remember the shock and distress in her voice, how she called us over to see the news. I couldn’t understand what the fuss was about, or how two planes could’ve crashed into the building—I was thinking of the Philippine World Trade Center, a spacious but very low building. I remember sitting in front of the TV, watching the footage, unable to equate what I saw as something real, something current. It seemed too much like a scary scene created for a movie. I sensed that what I was witnessing was significant and world changing, but as a 12-year-old at the time, living halfway around the world, I felt ever so removed from the reality of it.