Friday, September 11, 2015

A somber day of remembrance

Reminders of 9/11 have been everywhere today—on the TV and radio, in the newspapers, on Facebook, and in our hearts. As if we could ever forget, we have seen a barrage of photos of the horror and heard again first-person survivor accounts. In some ways I think the most eloquent tribute came from a friend who said she would post no pictures of planes or towers but simply say that the best way to honor those who died is to vow to respond in love, not hate, and to build bridges, not bombs. We will never forget.

But we have forgotten the sense of unity that brought the country together in the aftermath of that horrible, unbelievable day. People sensed that we were all in this together, and they reached out to each other. Since then, we have become, perhaps more than in decades, a people divided by race, religion, gender, origin. We have been manipulated by fear, instead of, as we did that day, vowing to stand up for our country and our fellow countrymen. We have forgotten that America is a melting pot. I pray to God that we can recover that sense and work together in brotherhood.

Son-in-law Christian came in tonight for a glass of wine with Jordan, me, and a neighbor. He proposed a toast to all who had lost their lives that day and we observed a moment of silence.

Although I have had enough of those fear-inspiring pictures, I have to say that my favorite picture of the day was of the sixteen-year-old Labrador, the oldest surviving rescue dog who participated in the mission to save people at the World Trade Towers. I hear he was treated to a plane ride, a limousine, a suite, and a hot dog for dinner. Love it!

My favorite story to come out of the horror came from a flight attendant on a plane headed to the US when they were told air space was closed and to land at the nearest airfield. They landed at Gander, Newfoundland, along with over 50 other planes. Gander, a town of 10,000 some, suddenly had an equal number of refugees on their hands. Towns within a radius of 75 kilometers opened schools and other public building for shelters; the elderly were housed in private homes, as was one very pregnant woman who was in a home directly across from a medical clinic. The people cooked for their guests and took them on tours. By the time, the passengers were able to leave Gander, they had bonded into one big family. And it was all amazingly organized—all passengers returned to their correct planes.

Those are wonderful stories to come out of a horrific event. Let’s all take them to heart and practice the same kind of humanity in our daily lives—especially in this contentious election season.

Blessings to all.

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