Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Memory - On 9/11

This post is intended only to have meaning to me, but I hope it resonates with some of you.

I first heard about the first plane hitting the the World Trade Center as I left school, I distinctly remember overhearing someone talking about it from their spot sitting on a low wall that I had to pass to leave. I don't remember going home, probably because at that moment, what would come next hadn't been revealed. By the time I got home the second tower had been hit, and there was nothing else on the TV.

I didn't watch the TV. It didn't seem real, and the horror of it was overwhelming. My parents did. Later on, I joined them for a while. It didn't seem real.

It still doesn't.

9/11 is, and will be forever, a defining act in the lives of my generation. Its legacy will haunt us until we pass on, hopefully many years from now.

We are not a kind species. Isaac Asimov said “To insult someone we call him "bestial." For deliberate cruelty and nature, "human" might be the greater insult.”

We would have found other excuses to murder and maim, to commit barbarism against each other. But 9/11 decided, and continues to decide, where wars are fought, who the targets of oppression are, and the way our society evolves.

We should not claim that nothing good came as a result of those actions. For some it became a wake up call to be kinder, to reach out further, to try to understand what might drive a human being to such heinous acts. Some people became better for the horror.

I don't know anyone who died in the towers. But I know people who did. They carry scars of loss that will remain etched on their souls forever. A family friend died as a result of a roadside bomb in a country he would likely not have been in but for 9/11. He was not someone I knew well, or in truth as more than a passing acquaintance, but I will remember him as best I am able.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
I stand in quiet awe of friends, colleagues and acquaintances who have served, and given service, not just here but in the USA and elsewhere. Many have done it not just for their country, but with a desire to serve all people, in all places.

We should remember in moments of joy, that there are those who cannot share in them, and who were denied a future.
Forgive him who wrongs you; join him who cuts you off; do good to him who does evil to you, and speak the truth although it be against yourself.
Muhammed - Peace Be Upon Him

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