Today is the eighteenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001. Always remember 9/11.
Terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York City and into the Pentagon. A third plane crashed in Pennsylvania. Its passengers, aware of what had happened, fought back and sacrificed their lives.
First responders selflessly struggled against impossible odds to help survivors and evacuate those in danger. Many first responders lost their lives, too.
Thousands died that day. It was a day that changed America. Our sense of safety shattered. Our isolation from what happened overseas vanished.
Time is Relentless
Families were forever changed on that day. Witnesses near the Towers were also changed. Some have physical reminders—old injuries or chronic injuries from debris and dust.
Time has claimed some of those who watched the Towers crumple.
For some eighteen years was a lifetime ago. They never saw that day. And unless the tragedies touched their families, they do not know or feel the solemness of the day.
The nation’s collective memory is fading.
Thousands died. It didn’t matter what color their skin, what religion they did or didn’t follow, or what their sexual preference was. They died because they were Americans and America symbolized something evil to terrorists who’d sworn to kill and destroy what they could.
That day, that week, that month random acts of love (RAOL) happened all over the nation. People offered hugs, water, even shirts off their own backs to strangers. They believed we would always remember 9/11.
What fickle creatures we human beings are. Eighteen years ago, America came together to comfort the grieving and to rally under a symbol, the flag of the United States of America. United being the operative word. We didn’t care what color of skin the victims had. Nor did we care about what sexual preferences or religions they practiced. They were Americans killed in an act of rage and terror. We grieved for them, hurt for them, drew together because of them.
Unfortunately, we allowed that sense of unity to fade with our memories.
No Easy Answer
Our forefathers had a dream of freedom from tyranny. They succeeded. But they did not, could not, foresee all the changes and growth of the next couple of centuries.
The United States of America is a nation of many colors, shapes, sizes, religions, and sexual preferences. There will be differences of opinions amongst us. There will be haters and lovers and everything in between. That is inevitable. It falls to the lovers to be bigger than the haters. To shun the hatred but not return it. The lovers must identify the haters but not lower themselves to the haters level with name calling. Remember, tough love means to not tolerate bad behavior but to unconditionally love the person. (This can be a challenge when behavior is extreme or evil.) Finally, the lovers must open their eyes to see what the haters see and work to heal those wounds.
None of those things are easy. All of those things take an enormous amount of strength and a lot of time. And that’s okay.
While many of us fear for the security and integrity and future of the USA, it’s not defeated. Not if we always remember 9/11 and use love to heal the wounds and scars of our nation. Honor the memory of those we lost with random acts of love (RAOL) today.