Personal Reflections on 9/11 by Paul Arpaia '85
Paul Arpaia, a 1985 Washington and Lee graduate, represented the September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows earlier this month as part of an Italian-American delegation that traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan, to meet Afghan families of the victims of terrorism and war and the representatives of Afghan civil and international organizations working in the country.
Paul is an award-winning associate professor of history at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches modern Italian and German history.
On Sept. 11, 2011, Paul’s cousin, Kathy Mazza was a captain for the New York Port Authority police force. She died at the World Trade Center carrying a person on a stretcher down a flight of stairs in the North Tower. Paul is one of 200 members of Peaceful Tomorrow from 31 states and seven foreign countries. The organization founded by family members of those killed on September 11th who have united to turn our grief into action for peace.
On the Peaceful Tomorrows’ website, Paul writes a moving essay about his cousin and the profound influence that she had on his life. Asked by DemocracyNow about the trip that he made to Afghanistan, Paul said: “I’m coming for two reasons, mainly. The first is to bring a declaration of solidarity and support for Afghanistan and for the people who, like ourselves, have lost members, family members, in this war on terrorism. The second reason I am coming is, on this 10th anniversary, to have people look at Afghanistan, not just New York, to think about how we can help. And so, I’ve been asking people here in Kabul, ‘How can we help?'”
Paul won the Rome Prize in Modern Italian Studies at the American Academy in Rome for 2007–2008. Since 1999, he has been the editor of H-Italy, one of the many networks that make up H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences OnLine