I didn’t plan this post, however, listening to the news this morning motivated me to write. After all, this day 11 years ago started much like today – a beautiful fall day with a mild temperature and a clear sky – but then something changed the world as we knew it.
On that day I was in my work cubicle with our local NPR station in the background when I first heard the brief report, and my colleague and I talked about a small-engine plane running into a tall building. As more news became available, our mood quickly changed.
Whether shock, terror, grief, or any other emotion of the day, the mood of that day stayed for months. The world had changed. Our routines changed. Our awareness changed.
One that day and in the days ahead, we were one. We were one as a nation, and yes, I believe one as a world. – well, at least the vast majority. The events blurred the differences of politics, ethnicity, culture, salary, profession, and many more. I still look back at that time of need and continue to believe that President Bush’s leadership during that time was the crowning achievement of his presidency. On that day, we also gained a greater appreciation for first responders, which eventually led to greater appreciation for those serving in our military.
Unfortunately, we lost that oneness. Before 2001 ended, politicians used the event and the issues to divide. Others reinforced the thought that the event was an attack by Muslim on Christians. Our elected legislators turned medical and financial support for the first responders suffering side effects from their work into a political football. All one has to do is look at the current election season to notice that our oneness has been replaced by something much less graceful.
Meanwhile, those in primary school at the time are now high school seniors or college freshman. Families still feel the pain of their loss on that day. Some lives have moved on – others remain crushed or embroiled in bitterness. September 11, 2001 affected many – and in different ways. Yet, in today’s time of economic need, I still yearn for the oneness beyond selfishness.