It was 16 years ago today that our world stopped cold in its tracks for hours that seemed like weeks. Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives in attacks hitting the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a downed plane en route, and the world froze still. Everything seemed to fast-forward or perhaps rewind as we hear of the second plane smashing into the second tower. Flights were grounded throughout the US, and emergency crews rushed to save who they could from the rubble both before and after the towers fell.
Those of us hundreds or even thousands of miles away felt like we were right there watching it, but helpless as to what we should be doing– but there was something unifying in the air. In the course of our busy lives, we often forget about our friends, our neighbors, or our families. We carry on like the next hour of our day is really what matters to us. Disasters, it seems, are what breaks us out of that routine to affirm our humanity past the busy rush of our standard lives– a tragedy itself.
Despite the horrific events of that day, the beauty of America– and Americans ourselves– shone brightly through that very day and in the days following. Americans from all walks of life pitched in to help rescue survivors, continuing for weeks. These people volunteered their time, money, and their labor and sacrificed their health in order to save people they did not know, and did so with a patriotism that many said had not been seen since the attacks on Pearl Harbor, 60 years before.
These efforts proved that even in our busiest of cities, and in the busiest of times, we will drop everything to help a neighbor in trouble.
If there is one thing we can take away from this awful event, it is that we are a resilient and caring people. When it matters, we will be there.
In this same spirit, consider helping a neighbor in need this week, or donating money to one of the many charities helping out with the efforts to restore after Hurricanes Harvey or Irma– or Jose, to come..
We all have busy lives, but life is a fragile thing, and we only get to live it once. Love thy neighbor, and live life to the fullest.