What I remember on 9/11
—Friends stuck in airports who didn’t know when or how they would get home.
—Friends afraid to go to their college classes after dark, because they were harassed for “looking like a terrorist” just because of the color of their skin.
—Stillwater, Oklahoma has a Muslim congregation and one of the leaders was invited to my Sunday School class, so that we could ask about Islamic beliefs and build a relationship out of trust instead of fear.
—My personal life was never interrupted. Teachers paused and allowed for the share of emotion, but I did not lose anything close to me.
—New York was changed forever. Brave people sacrificed their lives. The skyline would always bear the empty void of the loss of so many lives.
—Airports were changed forever. Suddenly our family can’t accompany us to our gate? I could no longer carry my magic screwdrivers for my flute, and the lines for security are held up by slow people like me.
—America is changed forever. Every person in their own way. Some became more fearful than ever. Some became more hateful than ever. Some distrustful, violent and desensitized. Others more aware of the world, conscious of how our actions as Americans effect other countries, mournful of the pain and destruction we have caused around the world and even in our own country.
I remember the memorials that I visited in NY and at the Pentagon. I remember the memorial services where the names were read of those who lost their lives. I remember the family members and the photos of the missing and lost.
I remember other attacks years later in Las Vegas, in Miami, and too many others which first made us gasp for fear of terrorism and later made us morn for the hate and violence poured out from our fellow Americans.
I remember the hope as Americans stood by Americans. And I remember the sadness as Americans turned against other Americans.
And I remember my decision to be an instrument of peace,
by befriending and showing kindness to immigrants, first generation Americans, and others who love our country, are willing to fight and make sacrifices for the privileges we enjoy here, and have made this country their beloved home for this time.
by befriending people of other faiths, while also confessing the sins of our church and the Church universal.
by resisting the pressure of fear and hate from society and planting seeds of hope, love and trust.
Never forget the resilience of the American people.
Love one another and let us work together for a safer, kinder, and inclusive community, so that our children will see themselves as citizens of a world community which prizes collaboration and peace over domination and fear.