Beginning in 1999, Gilley wrote hundreds of letters to, as he puts it, “everybody,” ultimately getting the attention and interest of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, Nobel Peace Prize winner Óscar Arias and United Nations Secretary General Kofi A. Annan. Within two years, the first United Nations International Day of Peace, September 21, 2001, was submitted to the General Assembly by Costa Rica and the British government with 54 cosponsors, and unanimously adopted by the 189 member nations.
Since that time, nearly 140,000 other individuals have been the targets of hate crime in the United States. 140,000, many losing their lives, many others their livelihoods, their family members, and whatever hope and color their existence possessed prior to the crime—all of them, in a very real sense, victims of 9/11.
In a September 10 posting on a tabloid website, anti-Scientology hate blogger Tony Ortega exploits the anniversary of 9/11 to forward his campaign of denigration and bigotry against Scientologists—in this case, the 800 Scientology Volunteer Ministers (VM) who worked at Ground Zero.
On the final approach to New York’s La Guardia airport at 8:40 a.m. we flew over the World Trade Center. I was marveling at its beauty and the New York City skyline. Eight minutes later, the world was tragically changed.
After the September 11th attacks I remember hearing from a college friend whose family members were practicing Sikhs. She was relating the painful reality of her brothers suddenly being harassed and threatened in public.