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Reflecting on 13 Years Ago

September 12, 2014

Yesterday marked 13 years since the attack on our soil. An attack that killed almost 3,000 people and changed lives of their loved ones, and our nation, forever. It is a day engrained in most of our memories. However, many children who are in school now have little or no recollection of these events, other than through photos, the internet and TV, because most were very small or not even born yet. So how do we teach these children and the generation that comes after the importance of this day?

History books will talk of it, the news will do its annual report on the anniversary, social media will flood with “Never Forget” graphics, but what if instead of focusing on the horrible events that made these day infamous, we spotlight on the importance of the good that came out of the tragedy. We should tell them of the brave men and women who rushed into the burning towers while others ran out. We should concentrate on the stranger who stopped to help a fellow stranger out of the disaster, and in turn, sacrificed his or her own life. We should share the story of a rescue team and their canine companions as they endlessly searched for survivors. We should talk of the passengers and flight attendants who, once they realized the mission of their hijacked plane, bravely fought to retake control so others may live.

Teaching others the beauty of helping those in need, no matter how big or small the need, is an invaluable lesson. While we should never underplay the significance of the events that transpired on September 11, 2001, we need to emphasize how as humans, when faced with disastrous circumstances, we have the ability and the responsibility to look after and care for one another. Much like the heroes from 13 years ago, let us remember today, yesterday and every day, that we are all part of something bigger than ourselves.

“What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met.” – Author David Levithan