Remembering 9-11 With An Eye towards Our Future
I wasn’t going to write anything about the anniversary of 9.11. I read many Facebook, twitter and blog posts from friends and acquaintances and was happy to know that the events of that day lived on in our hearts. That was enough for me. For some reason, I changed my mind when I looked at the date on my phone. Somehow, seeing those numbers stirred a passion in me I had underestimated. I remembered watching the news coverage that day, filled with grief for people I never met and filled with rage that someone had dared attacked my country. These emotions washed over me and as is so often the case these days, led to some self-reflection.
For me, this date is not just about losing nearly 3000 innocent people, or the destruction of the relative peace we North Americans had enjoyed for so many decades. It is also a celebration of the human spirit and American values I hold so dear (I don’t call these values uniquely American, as I have met people from enough places to understand the hubris of that statement). Many who lost their lives that day did so not of sheer bad luck, but out of a sense of duty. So many brave men and women ran towards the burning towers while so many others fled. These people chose duty over self-preservation and we are all enriched by their example.
The past few years have been challenging for Americans and many other nations and peoples. Countless crises have reared their heads. How will history remember us? Will we continue to hide from the obstacles before us, or ignore them until the next generation pries them from our weary bones? Will we rise to the occasion and band together in the name of duty?
Every crisis is an opportunity. Today, we face a great many opportunities. Let’s set aside our self-interest for a little bit and put our heads together to become a better nation and a better world. Our children deserve better than what we have been giving them recently.