Editor's Note: To mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, St. Louis Park Patch is sharing the stories of a few local residents uniquely impacted by the tragedy. We've also linked to the Huffington Post's national 9/11 photo project, as well as coverage from other Minnesota Patch sites.
Kent Kosobayashi said the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, made being a Muslim in America “a little more difficult.”
Kosobayashi, who grew up in St. Louis Park and now resides in Minneapolis, converted to Islam shortly before the attacks. He had grown up in a Japanese family that practiced Buddhism, then became involved in the Lutheran church, but found Islam as he grew older.
“I felt I had grown as much as I could in the religion,” Kosobayashi said of being Lutheran. “I opened my eyes (to the fact) that there’s more to learn in other religions.”
To read more of Kosobayashi's story, click .
St. Louis Park Patch reader Peter Kapinos shared the following story:
I was in the Navy in Groton, CT. It was an incredibly beautiful, cool fall morning. That morning was the last time it was that easy to get on base.
Working a desk, the chief came out saying that a building in NYC was hit by an airplane. I thought it was going to be like the plane that accidentally hit the Empire State Building decades before. After the second hit, the base went on lock-down, the entrance being immediately barricaded with concrete barriers. Most everyone on base that was not essential was sent home.
I left the base around 11:30 and it was near vacant. I spent the rest of the day out at my fiancee's house in Narragansett, Rhode Island, watching the news, wondering if the boats would be sent out and fielding calls from back home in Minnesota when a cell line opened up. It was a beautiful fall day. It came so early in the morning that made the evening and next day awkward because, "now what?"
Kathy McKay has been working for four years to help strengthen the relationship between America and the Middle East—a relationship that was certainly strained by the 9/11 attacks.
The St. Louis Park resident is the executive director of the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project, which was formed in 2007 to create better understanding between the two countries. In 2009, she was recognized as the city's for her efforts.
McKay said she still senses that some people have a narrow—and negative—view of people from the Middle East, but added that she's seen improvement in the 10 years since 9/11.
"I see a lot of connections between Iraqis and Americans that I didn't see before," McKay added.
She said that by looking at the country's history with Japan over the last 60 plus years, she sees hope for America's relationship with the Middle East to improve even more.
"My father flew in World War II," McKay said. "And yet now, my children and I want to go to Japan. And their products all over.
"I don't see why we couldn't do the same with the Middle East. If the will is there, it can happen."
For more coverage of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, check out the Huffington Post's national 9/11 photo project, which gathered images and stories from people across the country.
Also, see below for more 9/11 anniversary stories from across Minnesota:
Eagan: Eagan Resident Mike Ferber Hopes Memories of 9/11 Won’t Fade
Edina: Retired Army Vet Spurred to Re-Enlist Following 9/11 Attacks
Fridley: Demand Soared for Speakers on Islam after 9/11
Inver Grove Heights: VFW Commander: Sept. 11 Changed the Country
Lake Minnetonka: Remembering Wayzata Native Gordy Aamoth
Lakeville: Lakeville VFW Post Manager's Wife Working at Pentagon on Sept. 11
Minnetonka: 9/11 Memories From a Former New Yorker
Mendota Heights: Retired Mendota Heights Pilot Recalls ‘Paradigm Shift’
Northfield: Northfielder Will Never Forget His Birthday in Iraq
Oakdale: Terror and Joy Came Together for Oakdale Family
Richfield: 9/11 Aftermath: Richfield Couple Waits for Possible Deployment