As we all remember September 11th, it’s important to not only remember the horrific events of that day, but what it meant to us as people, as a country, and as a world.
September 11th hits me the hardest in this way, for a brief flash I saw the very best of humanity. When the horrific events unfolded I not only saw my fellow Americans, by my fellow humans putting aside differences to come together in one worldwide call of humanitarianism. I saw true outpouring of human love and empathy from all corners of this globe. I am still awestruck to this day of the potential I saw in humanity during this brief flash of remarkable humanity.
However, over the days, months, and years that followed I watched as the goodness of humanity faded through fear. I watched bigotry explode from our hate. I watched evil flourish as we let our worst traits take over. It became ok to take advantage of each other. A smile on our faces as we let our hate, anger, and fear take over while we deceived ourselves through false justifications.
Now I look at this world almost two decades later, I can see how the worst of us has shaped us. I can see how our fear defeats us. I can see how our bigotry turns our family, friends, and neighbors into our enemies. I see how we use hate to justify our amorality. I see too many embracing the worst parts of us for their own personal gain.
That’s why I find September 11th so hard. I see how we squandered that glimpse of goodness. Instead we allowed the hate, fear, anger, and despair into our lives. In doing so we have made this world an uglier place then it was on September 10, 2001.
In my view, terror won that day. Hate’s still winning. Fear has had a grip on us for nearly an entire generation. Along with those lost, we need to also remember the lessons lost.
This is not to say that we humans are lost. We can choose hope over fear. We can choose understanding over anger. We can choose compassion over bigotry. We can choose peace over violence. We can choose good over evil.
When you take a moment to remember September 11th. Remember that flash of goodness and humanitarianism. We can choose to shine again like we did that fateful day, every day.