A Mother Remembers Her Son, A Muslim-American First Responder Who Died On Sept. 11 Talat Hamdani's son Salman died after the police cadet rushed to the fallen towers to help. The first responder was later wrongfully identified by police and the press as an accomplice in the attacks.
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A Mother Remembers Her Son, A Muslim-American First Responder Who Died On Sept. 11

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A Mother Remembers Her Son, A Muslim-American First Responder Who Died On Sept. 11

A Mother Remembers Her Son, A Muslim-American First Responder Who Died On Sept. 11

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Time now for StoryCorps. Monday is the anniversary of the September 11 attacks. And this morning, we remember 23-year-old Salman Hamdani. He was an emergency medical technician who rushed to the World Trade Center that morning to help. Like thousands of others, Salman never came home. But in the weeks that followed, he was wrongfully linked as an accomplice in the attacks. His mother, Talat Hamdani, came to StoryCorps to remember when her son went missing.

TALAT HAMDANI: We went searching for him in different hospitals, and his name was not there. And I remember, there was a flyer circulating about Salman. It said wanted by terrorist task force. And reporters printed his picture and published an article that said, "Missing Or Hiding?" But he was so proud to be an American.

As a child, he grew up with the "Star Wars" saga. And one day, I asked him - Salman, what is "Star Wars"? And he goes, Mama, you don't know "Star Wars"? You are not an American.

He was just a different soul. I remember there was this sparrow, and its wing was damaged or something. So we tried to nurse it. And then he went to school. And when he came back, he asked me, what happened to the bird? I said, the bird died. I threw it in the trash bin. He was very upset at me. So he went back out, and he buried the bird in the backyard. That was him - helpful, loving.

He probably saw the towers burning and then ran to help that day. His remains were found by the North Tower. They gave us a bag with his jeans and his belt. And they said his body parts were in 34 pieces.

There's a vacuum in life when you lose a child. It's a sense of incompleteness, and you always feel it. He gave me the joys of motherhood and the pains of motherhood.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHRIS ZABRISKIE'S "THAT KID IN FOURTH GRADE WHO REALLY LIKED THE DENVER BRONCOS")

KELLY: That was Talat Hamdani remembering her son Salman who died on September 11, 2001. In 2002, Salman was given a hero's burial, with his casket draped in an American flag. Hundreds of people attended that funeral, including then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Talat's interview will be archived at the Library of Congress.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHRIS ZABRISKIE'S "THAT KID IN FOURTH GRADE WHO REALLY LIKED THE DENVER BRONCOS")

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