One sunny summer afternoon in Ann Arbor in 1993, the doorbell in my apartment rang. It was Darya, who as she had promised over the phone, had come to pick up my eight-year-old son to take him to a movie.
It was the second time I was seeing Darya Lin, my friends' daughter. The light shining through the window from behind, the gentle voice introducing herself again, the sincere, childish smile on her face are all carved in my memory.
Two and a half hours later, the doorbell rang again, and I could hear the mingling laughter of my son with that of Darya echoing in the hallway. My son came back happier, and to this date, he has never forgotten the taste of the ice cream Darya bought him at Stuchies on the way back home.
I strongly believe that my son and I are not the only people who were blessed by Darya's gentleness. She affected many people, and she continues to do so by leaving a beautiful legacy. This legacy, I believe, is derived mostly from her unique character. It is not enough to say that she was nice, kind, intelligent, caring, the very traits that caused her perpetuity on September 11.
She was 32 years old when as an accomplished engineer and as a senior manager at Keane Consulting Group in Chicago, she was visiting an office on the 92nd floor of the World Trade Center South Tower on September 11. She separated from her group of colleagues during the evacuation to stay behind and to help a pregnant woman on the 78th floor before the South Tower collapsed. There is a beautiful irony here.
Most of all, Darya epitomized cultural tolerance, cultural awareness, and cultural interaction. Darya, had acquired the best of three distinct ethnic and national traditions (Iranian, American, and Burmese), turning into a hospitable, patient, and professional young woman, presenting to those around her a constant reminder of the beautify of life, as did the meaning of her Persian name; Sea. She will be with us forever >>> News and politics forum
Kamran Talattof is an associate professor in Near Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona, Tucson.