On September 11, 2001 the world changed in fundamental ways. Today’s anniversary is a time to reflect on the trauma and loss. It is also a time for hope. We survived. We are resilient. We will forevermore face the future as survivors of a crisis unlike anything our country had ever faced before.
Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when you learned the news of the attack and fall of the twin towers. In what ways did the news change your life?
One thing that I remember is a dear friend who, in the days immediately following the attack in 2001, organized a letter writing campaign. She went on Good Morning America and asked people around the country to send letters to first responders and the families of those who had lost loved ones in New York City and Washington DC. Thousands of letters poured in – and she redistributed those letters to families who had lost loved ones and to the fire fighters, police officers, and many other first responders who had lost friends and coworkers. People across the country shared their sense of grief and loss. Their sense of outrage. They shared their gratitude and appreciation for those who risked their lives – and for those who lost their lives. They let the people of NYC and DC know that the nation had them in their hearts and prayers.
I share that story because it feels like we are in another time of state and national trauma. And we are struggling with how to see our way through the pain and confusion. My friend’s simple act of going on Good Morning America and inviting people across the country to write letters and organizing them so that they brought comfort to many, just when they needed it the most, feels like just one way to help us to stay connected through the trauma of these days.
Do you have memories of September 11, 2001 and how you’ve found resilience in the years since? (Feel free to leave a comment.)