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(NECN: Jennifer Eagan) - It is all still surreal for Afkham Salie. Tuesday marks 11 years since his sister, Rahma, boarded American Airlines Flight 11. The plane was deliberately flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone aboard. Afkham was halfway around the world at the time in Sri Lanka when he heard the news. "I got a call from my father saying, 'I think your sister was on that flight.' I just remember thinking, 'it can't be,'" Salie said.
Rahma was seven months pregnant. She and her husband Micky were headed to Los Angeles for a wedding. "It's a day that bring back all of the horrific things of that day, but I try to reflect on everything that was positive," Salie said.
Rahma's mother, Haleema, spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. She asked everyone to keep the memory and sense of unity of September 11th with them as the years pass. "It was and remains as a day that unites us. What unites us is stronger than what divides us," she told the crowd. Afkham says he believes that feeling of unity is still there in the country.
In the years since Sept. 11, Rahma's family has opened L'Aroma Cafe & Bakery in Newton, Massachusetts where Afkham still expects his younger sister to walk through the door with that infectious smile. "If she walks in today and says hello, I wouldn't be surprised. I still expect her to be around," Afkham said.
This Sept. 11, the family will once again raise and lower a flag flown over Washington D.C. in remembrance of Rahma.