We all can remember where we were on September 11, 2001. We can all remember when we first heard about the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I was at home, about to drive to work. I would have driven right by the Pentagon if my daughter hadn’t called and said, “Dad, turn on the TV!”
It is hard for me to believe that that day was twenty years ago. So much has changed, and yet so much hasn’t. I do think it appropriate to ask ourselves and our leaders, “What have we learned? What mistakes did we make?” I do think it is poetic (a tragic poem) that twenty years later we are finally leaving our war in Afghanistan with not much having changed in that country despite trillions of dollars and way too many lives lost.
I was frightened for my friends and family that day, yet that afternoon our new neighbors knocked on our door with a pitcher of martinis saying, “no one should be alone this day.” Out of tragedy a wonderful friendship began. When I remember that day it is not the fear, anger, or need for revenge I temporarily felt, but it is that knock on the door.
Perhaps, the best memorial that comes out of any tragedy is not anger, hatred, or revenge, but the recognition of what draws us all together — love, common dreams, and acts of mercy and kindness.