Today is the 17th anniversary of 9/11. I still remember where I was when I heard about the first plane hitting the first tower. My brother had worked in tower 2, and was supposed to be at work there that day. But through a miracle, he had been kept from the building that day, and that saved his life. He lost co-workers and friends. But we were spared the grief that so many others have endured.
As I’ve been reflecting on 9/11, and on our world as it is today, there are some lessons from that time that I think we need to be reminded of.
1- We are what makes American strong.
The first lesson – WE are what makes America strong. The people are the ones who make the difference. I remember so many times in the past years when tragedy strikes, it seems social media is full of “We are all ___” banners. We are all France, We are Texas, etc. After 9/11 there was a huge feeling of unity and patriotism as we all shared our heartbreak and shock over what was happening.
Our country has never had an attack that took so many lives, and we hopefully never will again. But the greatest lesson that came out of 9/11 is that we, the people of America, is what makes the country great. We can show love and compassion for each other and support each other through any trial. And that unity will make everything we face easier to handle.
2- We are stronger when we work together
Lesson two, working together makes us stronger. After the two towers fell in Manhattan, people worked together to clean up the disaster. There was so much debris in the air that you couldn’t go outside without a face mask for over a week. The concrete dust covered everything!
People were united in a way that inspired the whole country. First responders from all over the country drove out to the sites of all 4 plane crashes to help where they could. And the rest of the country offered prayers and donations, anything they could to help the cause. It was moving.
Our world right now is still tumultuous. Right now the Carolina’s are facing Hurricane Florence. It’s currently a Cat 4 and will likely cause a lot of damage. If we responded to every crisis with the unity and love that was poured out after 9/11, our country would be a different place. I like to think our government leaders would make better choices for the American people. And that we would seek solutions to bring more lasting peace to the world.
3- Hold your loved ones close.
Lesson three- Hold your loved ones close. After 9/11 people were more aware of those they loved, and those they lost. It’s easy in life to get buried in your to-do list and forget the people you are doing it all for. You work long hours and come home tired. And it’s easy to forget that we need to share our love and appreciation for each other every day, in a real and tangible way.
I know I would never have forgiven myself if my brother had been lost in Tower 2 that day. We hadn’t been talking much in the years leading up to that day. But afterward I make sure to keep in touch. I remember his birthday and ask after his wife and children. Because knowing I almost lost him has shown me how much more he means to me than I knew. I think a lot of us are in a similar position.
I am grateful for the chance to reflect on the lessons of 9/11 and remember the people we lost that terrible day. We lost so many heroes that day. But their example, their impact on the world, didn’t stop at their passing. Their example continues to motivate and inspire us, and it’ll never stop. May God bless all those impacted by 9/11. And may we never forget the lessons of that day. Because we need them more now than ever.