Today commemorates the day, ten years ago, that the world was changed forever. We are all familiar with it and most of us can remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on that day when those planes flew into the WTC towers. We have images of ash cover people wandering in a daze through the streets trying desperately to see through the clouds of grey ash and none of us will ever forget the sight of those seemingly indestructible burning towers tumbling to the ground in a matter of seconds and taking thousands of innocent lives down with them. Visions of chaos remain forever seared into our brains whether we were actually near those towers and personally experiencing the nightmare or thousands of miles away watching it in shock on television as I was.
Today is a day where people change their facebook profile pictures from one of themselves to one of the U.S flag or some other photo of a firefighter or the WTC towers. We are a bit kinder to each other on this day and cutting someone off in traffic is pretty much considered un-American. The compassion that our country wants to be known for is quite evident on 9/11 and it would seem to some that our Government and the citizens of our great country are actually practicing what we preach.
I honestly have to say that I was hoping that by now the U.S would understand that something about the way it treats people is sometimes unacceptable. From our own Veterans who served this country and are now homeless and unable to receive adequate medical care to our homeless and hungry youth, to the unemployed who are trying desperately to find work to feed and clothe their families, to our children who are not receiving an education that will make viable in the future workforce to the beautiful people of other countries who view the U.S through eyes of awe and come here seeking a better life, it seems that the message of that day ten years ago has gone mostly unnoticed. It seems, to me at least, that we mostly use the message of 9/11 as a pass to hold on to and express the hate that we may feel for people of other countries or faiths. We use it to justify our personal prejudices and bitterness and say it is in the name of those who lost their lives on 9/11.
You would think that each of us would search ourselves and ask ourselves how we are treating each other and what, if anything , we are doing to bring healing to the world instead of using 9/11 as justification to continue our own hate. It is unacceptable that on one a day a year we express consideration and compassion for our fellow citizens and extend kind words to strangers that we run into but come the day after we are back to our usual selfish selves spewing unkindness to each other.
It is just unacceptable that in a country so great as the United States of America women are still treated as unequals and if you are a black woman or other woman of color then you fare far worse! It is unacceptable that in such a great country racism towards and hatred for our President is openly spewed from the mouths of it’s citizens under the guise of freedom of speech! It is unacceptable that millions of American citizens are living below the poverty level and the powers that be look on them with disgust and disdain and say that they should do something to help themselves but continue to keep their political foot on their necks! It is unacceptable that if you are a gay citizen then you treated as a freak of nature and made to feel that you are less than! It is unacceptable that you have Governors of states signing legislation stating that it is OK to stop citizens of that state and basically harass them because they “Look” a certain way…illegal in this case. It is unacceptable that a rapist can go free because the “credibility” of the victim is called into question by the very system designed to protect her. A system that is usually run by men.
It is just unacceptable that we in this country have not changed the fundamental way we treat others even after such a tragedy as happened on this day ten years ago. It’s sad that the lesson that we all could have learned from that day seems to have passed us by as we continue business-as-usual. It seems that some of us have missed a great opportunity for self reflection and evolution in our thinking and actions and have not changed the way we treat ourselves or the people around us.
But I know that the spirit of the United States IS one of compassion for it’s fellow man here at home and around the world. I know that the majority of people living in this country do so because there is no other country like it-no other country that has the freedoms that the U.S has. Let us use these freedoms to spread a message of luv and compassion and not vitriol and hate. Our country is hurting right now and some of our actions as of late reflect that hurt but if each of us looks inside ourselves and makes changes within then we will begin to see the outer change that we so desperately seek. We cannot depend on our Government to change and as much as our President preached change he cannot do it alone. We each much do our part to change our country and the world and that change starts within ourselves.
I want to leave you with a beautiful quote that speaks to that Spirit of change within. I hope you will take it to heart.