"Ya Baba! Ya Baba!" Ezzi Deen shouted in Arabic.
The 14-year-old boy was crying out for his father. He last uttered those words as a toddler. Ezzi Deen never received a response then, either.
He remained connected to his father through pictures and letters that trickled into his home from the International Committee of the Red Cross. But it did little to ease his pain. He woke up every morning and imagined, "Today is the day my father will come home."
He had it all planned out: His father would walk through the door and he would leap out of his bed and embrace him. Then he would go outside to play with the other boys in his village, the anguish of the past 11 years gone – just like that.
Ezzi Deen believed in his heart this is exactly how it would play out. He believed this even though his grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins had given up hope that their son and brother would ever return to Yemen.
So, Ezzi Deen wept, dropped to his knees and screamed when his uncle, Muhammed, broke the news on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that the tragedy had claimed his father as its latest victim.