Today is the 10th Anniversary of the attacks that took place on September, 11, 2001 in New York and Washington D.C.
I could spend this post talking at length about where I was that day (in my junior year at Marquette – in my a third story walk-up apartment after having dropped off a friend at work) or how I felt (scared, worried, confused), but instead I am going in a different direction.
What happened on 9/11 was bigger than any of us individually. It impacted people around the world and continues to do to this day. In the ten years since these horrible events society has experienced a number of other tragedies – Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 Tsunami in the Indian Ocean, the earthquake in Japan earlier this year, the horrid shootings in Norway and Arizona, and the myriad of other situations that do not make it onto the front pages – and they all leave people wondering why, how could this happen, what do we do now, how do we move forward.
Many of these questions are beyond anything that any of us will ever be able to fully answer or comprehend. We will never truly know or understand why, and we don’t need to. We can only control our reactions to these actions and our own thoughts and emotions. In my opinion, people who embark on these actions are not acting in a rational way – they are being ruled by emotions. Emotions are powerful, they drive us to do some very awesome and sometimes very stupid things. Regardess, emotions need to be tempered with rational thoughts and actions at times to avoid taking things a bit too far.
Now, what does this talk of emotions have to do with 9/11? I often wonder if there wasn’t so much hatred and misunderstanding in the world, would things like 9/11 happen? If we all took the time to stop, and think, and learn, might we avoid these horrid actions that lead to so many long-lasting consequences? Might we have fewer children whose innocence has been taken away after having seen the impact of extreme hatred? Might we have more cooperation and love and respect?
After any tragedy, people band together. We mourn together, we celebrate together, we remember together. However, this togetherness fades away, only to be brought back in the face of another negative event. What is keeping us from coming together to celebrate our similarities and differences at all times? Why can’t we pitch in and help our neighbors each and every day? I don’t have the answer to this question, but I do know one thing, this is something we all can try to do in our own small part of the world. I challenge you to do something each day for someone else – it could be as easy as picking up something that someone dropped, sharing a kind word with someone, or something larger, but just try and do something. Not only will you be helping someone else, but you never know when you may need a kind action from a stranger to get through a rough day.
So many people were so very selfless the day of these attacks. My heart goes out to the first responders who ran into a burning building to do their job to save as many lives as possible, even while staring their own mortality in the face. The families of all of the victims from this day will always have a hole that will never be able to be filled again as a direct result of actions taken by some very angry and irrational people. I can’t fathom how they are able to deal to this day, but in my opinion giving in to the fear isn’t an option. We must stand a little taller, work a little harder, and love a lot more to get through this.
Spend some time today remembering, thinking, reflecting, and if it’s your thing, praying. But also take some time to think about how you can do things to make your part of the world a little bit of a better place and share some love to overcome the hate that is out there.
With that, I will sign off with a song. A song that for me has always captured many of my thoughts about this day and these types of actions.