Transforming 9/11 Memories to a Lifetime of Impact
Updated: Oct 18, 2019
by Bryan Hixson
It was a day like none other, that is now part of the collective memory of our nation. For a moment in time, we came together in protest of evil and hate that would see fit to murder in mass. We gathered in unified prayer and reflection. We served and shared, grieved and gave. For that moment in time we appeared as one nation under God, behaving as if our values and principles were guided by a superior being who values goodness and love. For a moment, party politics became purple and irrelevant to unified grief and anger. Red and blue shared disdain for darkness, as politicians and people of party choice, joined hands in unparalleled unity since WWII.
We rightly remember those we lost and the nightmare that lives on in families of the fallen. The destruction left its scars on what remains. To 2,606 we said goodbye as they went to work and did not come home. To 246 in planes we waved on, never to return. To 411 of our nation’s finest (firefighters, police, paramedics) we cheered one last time. These souls became central to our defiant unity against what stole them from us. We vowed to never forget, and we haven’t.
Or have we? Yes, we remember those lost and those responsible. We remember burning towers and cries of desperation. In the wake of 9/11, temporary unity was buried so deep that civility seems to have rotted long ago leaving the attackers fanatic fans waving virtual victory flags knowing they escalated the dividing of a nation. A mutual passion against evil evolved into a mutual plague against each other. The plague has spread rapidly through tweets and posts while media feeds fanatics of opinion who vomit views behind the wall of the web. Social and political diatribe begins with words like war, no war, fund this, don’t fund that, we understand, they are inept, we care, they don’t, etc. The language of destruction has grown to glass breaking pitch no less loud than the screams of people in collapsing towers.
For a moment – we remember, but in time we have forgotten. What was once a generally collaborative spirit has devolved into competitive intolerance. As we remember those lost, let us honor them by honoring others. Let us return to common ground and civility in debate. Let us serve others as we would hope to be served. Let us “love our neighbor as ourselves.”
Let us transform memories “for the moment” to a lifetime of positively impacting others with love and compassion, service and sacrifice.