There’s been so much noise over the past few days about the anniversary of 9/11 that even people living under a rock would have heard of it. A decade, in personal time, is a long time, a quarter of my life. But on a historical curve it is but a drop in the bucket.
And so today is a time to look back, past the horrors of that day, past the giant ball of fire that forever changed me, past the desperate people flinging themselves out the windows of the building, past the cloud of smoke that replaced what had once been the tallest human-created structure, past the smell that lingered on for weeks and months after, past the ways in which the US justified its own abuses with these terrible even, past the ways in which hateful rhetoric used the events of that day to justify their divisive behavior.
Today is a time to focus on the good things that came out of it, on the way firemen and other good samaritans rushed towards the towers instead of away from them in an attempt to save more lives, on the way those rushing in paid no attention to their own safety because they were more concerned about the safety of others, on the way thousands pushed back when people tried to paint this as a clash of civilization, on the way in which countless people pulled together to help each other, on the way many created their own memorials to the fallen, on the way people tried to work together to heal some of the wounds that were left behind, on the way many heeded the call when this became a day of volunteering.
Today is a time to honor the dead by building for the future, to show that we cannot be swayed by the heresy of the few, to highlight all that is good in humankind, to show that standing together is stronger than standing alone, to point out that helping others is more important than helping oneself, to reach out to those who may be having a hard time and lend a shoulder to lean on, to be friendly, to be human, and to show that we are a country built on hope.
Today is time to show that our hope for the future cannot be destroyed by the madness of militants, whether they are foreign or domestic, to see that our hopes cannot be pushed down by adverse conditions, to recommit to the hopes of those before us who wanted to create a more perfect union, to point to a future where such hatred will not exist because it will not be needed, to reveal plans for rebuilding and recommitting to making the world a better place, to view the world and its future anew, as if for the first time, as children do.
Today is a time for rebirth, renewal, restoration, recovery, and reawakening; a time to rebuild, as we can now witness on ground zero where the hole in the city’s skyline is slowly being refilled even as the hole in our hearts may remain open; a time to rethink our views of others, extending a hand to those who may not agree with us in order to better understand their point of view; a time to restart the 21st century, leaving behind the psychological scars left by that horrible day and recommitting to what makes this country, and this world, an amazing place.
So turn off your TV, turn off your radio, turn off the noise and reach out to your neighbors, your friends, and total stranger and spend time focusing on how to make the world a better place instead of looking back at the time when some in the human race displayed our worst instinct.
Carlos Dominguez, Mark Ellis, Melissa Vincent, Michael DiPasquale, Cynthia Giugliano, Jeremy Glick, David Halderman, Steve Weinberg, Gerard Jean Baptiste, Tom McCann, David Vera.