Today marks the 16th anniversary of 9/11. I can clearly recall where I was that morning like it was yesterday. I was at work, which was very close to our local airport. I began to hear rumblings amongst my co-workers that a small plane had hit one of the towers. At the time, everyone thought it was just a terrible accident. I logged into one of the news channel websites to see if I could get more information. Soon, we saw the news that another plane had hit the second tower, and we all began to understand that this wasn’t just an accident. I remember sitting there in such uncertainty, wondering if we were safe, why this was happening, and who had done such a terrible thing. Our company, due to the nature of the business, went into a lockdown, meaning we were stuck at work for a while, not knowing what would come next. I remember the afternoon being eerily quiet, as the normal sound of airplanes taking off and landing was no longer taking place. People nervously went about their business, but everyone was worried about friends and family, and how they could get home quickly. I remember it being such a relief to be able to go home from work that night.
The thing I remember most about the days that followed was the unity of our country. It didn’t matter if you were democrat or republican, black or white, male or female. We were one nation, one people, coming together to help each other. I had never seen anything like it. American flags flew everywhere, prayer was not the exception but the norm, and kindness amongst our fellow-man was commonplace.
Why does it take a tragedy for this kind of thing to occur? Today, as we solemnly remember those who lost their lives, may we also remember the unity that we saw take place during those trying times. May we be the face of kindness to our neighbors and those around us today. May a new movement of respect and love in our nation and world start with us. May we honor those who lost their lives by changing the way we respond to others, by believing the best in people, by choosing to see the good instead of the negative, and by loving those around us well.
And may we never forget the events of that day, the lives that were lost, and the heroes that emerged during those dark times. May I always remember, and may I choose love over hate – today and always.
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Romans 12:9-10
“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16