Not all change is good. And that’s a fact. Nine years ago today everybody’s lives changed in a matter of minutes, no matter what country you lived in or where you were.
I was supposed to be getting on a plane that day, and I still remember the tears of a pilot who was on the phone when I entered the doors of the airport. He looked at me with tears streaming down his faceand said “You’re not going anywhere. Those planes that flew into the Twin Towers were commercial flights. There were people on those flights.” I stood outside with a small crowd, and with all of the news going on no one, except for the pilot on the phone, was saying a word. Total silence reigned as we made eye contact with each other and shook our heads. We finally started walking back to our cars, heads down, the sound of rolling bags the only auditory element breaking up the silence.
The drive home seemed like it took forever, and as I sat glued in front of the television the rest of the day I remember saying, repeatedly, “nothing’s ever going to be the same again.” Well, it hasn’t been. There’s been more fear, and more manipulation of the fearful. Prejudice has been heightened, and religious people have turned on each other. All change is not good.
However, for every negative change there have been more positives:
1. On that day, the date of which it is painful to speak, people dropped their egos and focused on each other. Fireman went up the down staircase, knowing their return would be improbable. People saw the “face of God” in each other. On that day, we redefined love and heroism.
2. Since that day, we realized our vulnerability and in many ways began to pull together. People on planes learned to immediately handle someone trying to light their shoe – they came together and tied up the terrorist. They said, together, “you won’t terrorize us anymore.”
3. Since that day, we began to realize that there are more important things in life than money, and we started to value our friends and family a little bit more. People stopped talking about going for the careers where they can make money, and instead starting looking for ways to make a positive difference in the world.
All change is not good, but it does require a response. I am proud of so many of the ways we have responded over the past nine years. Now, if we could simply replace fear with a passion to support freedom rather than restrict it, I think we will honor the lives given.
To all of those, who showed us the true face of God on that day, we thank you. We miss you. And we will work harder to try and honor you.
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