Twelve years ago I was sitting in Mr. Ekbundit’s chemistry class. I was a junior in high school and knew what I was watching on television would forever change the heart and soul of America. When tragedies occur it’s difficult to understand and cope with reality. At that age, I had a clear understanding of what war was and the impact it had on the world before me but had never witnessed an attack on the country I deemed as “invincible.” Our world changed that September eleventh morning. Generations lost their innocence, terrorism gained a new definition and day-to-day privacy was forever lost. As I sit here and reflect on what this day means, it’s hard for me not to feel emotional. The pure terror and confusion of what this event marks is more than any mind can grasp.
While the images of planes crashing and towers crumbling are forever burned in my memory, I can’t help but think what this even means for new generations. At twelve years past, the wounds still feel deep and unhealed, but will it feel like this in 20 or 30 years? There will be millions of young people who only know September 11th as a lesson they had in school or perhaps from the stories of a family member or news report. Until September 11th 2001, I never really understood what it meant to be invaded or go to war- Pearl Harbor, while terrible, was just something I read about. Experiencing an attack on YOUR nation, OUR nation, makes things real. It makes me sad to think 9-11 made these ideas come to life in my mind. They were no longer just something I knew of.
I pray families, schools and our nation does a better job teaching young people what war is- what violence and terror are. Not just the facts, the emotion, the tragedy and the true change it brings on a world, a generation and the soul of an individual. I pray for families who lost loved ones, military men and women who’ve seen more than they should ever of had to. I pray for the souls of those who believe in terror and aggression that they might find peace within and share it with the world around them.
As we move through the rest of the day and the end of the week, I ask each of you to look around and see what YOU (WE) can do to make the world a better place. While we can’t fight terror or violence, as individuals we can shower the world with kindness and love. Shine your light and look for the good within everyone you meet. Life is too short and too confusing to accept ideas of hatred. Sometimes all it takes is a small gesture of acceptance.
The families and victims of September 11th and our military who are still affected from this horrible event are not forgotten but serve as an infinite reminder of how our world changed that day. My heart goes out to our country today and my thoughts are with each of you as you digest what this day means in our history.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change the courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference.