“What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met.” ~ David Levithan
Today is a rather somber day as it marks the twentieth anniversary of terrorist attacks on the United States that destroyed the Twin Towers in New York, severely damaged the Pentagon, and downed a commercial jet headed for the White House. Thousands of people perished.
That day brought many changes to our country. It was the first time that all air traffic in the country was brought to a halt as the terrorists used commercial jets to carry out their attacks and there was no way to discern if others were in the air with the same intent.
Beside the ground stop, there were many other things that were instituted or beefed up in the country such as Homeland Security. Suspicion ran at all time highs. Everyone was a potential terrorist in the eyes of many. Hatred swelled. The days, weeks, and months that followed the events of that day were very stressful.
We grieved. We grieved the loss of those who died in the attacks. We grieved the loss of a certain innocence that we had. We grieved the loss of our sense of security. For the past twenty years, our lives have been different, sometimes radically so.
What we must do is remember those who perished and to pray for the repose of their souls and for consolation for their family and friends. That is imperative and is what, as Levithan notes, separates us from the animals and the chaos. What we must not do is allow the events of that day to turn us into people who hate or who denigrate others because of their ethnicity, race, religion, or nationality. Hate is too easy to embrace and awfully difficult to let go.
Remember the past. Learn from the past. But have hope for the present and the future because God is with us and will walk by our side at all times whether they be good times or bad times.
FAITH ACTION: As we remember the events of September 11, 2001, pray for all of those who are victims of violence anywhere in the world.