With the Labor Day holiday, it was a short and fairly uneventful week at the MDA, so today let’s just focus our attention on today as the 19th anniversary of 9/11.
The world was changed that day. Everyone has a story of where they were when they learned of the hijacked planes and fallen towers.
I was in Florida awaiting an interview for a new role in ministry. It never materialized, and nine months later I was unpacking at my new home in Missouri. In the interim I was available for an assignment I will never forget.
I traveled to New York City several times in the ensuing months to help coordinate a massive distribution of “No More Fear” kits to high school students across the five boroughs. These kits contained a number of items meant to inspire hope and provide comfort. A project this large was good training for MOMOM, although I didn’t know it at the time. These trips provided me with indelible memories of Ground Zero as well as the hidden wonders of NYC beyond Broadway and 5th Avenue. I got to stay at the Central Park YMCA among many who were displaced and without a home. I got to park a big truck in the loading dock at the Empire State Building. I got to attend a World Series game and attend a David Letterman show.
Everyone I met was so amazing and grateful and committed. The wild highs and lows all brought home the impact of the horrible attack but also the even greater human response. It was inspirational. I’ve been back once since to marvel at the new One World Trade Center tower and ponder at the impressive memorials, even though the surroundings were back to that usual NYC hustle and bustle. Time and healing only move forward.
And now NYC is recovering from another devasting attack from the Coronavirus. Again, we all commiserate as we struggle as well. But what does history teach us as we swore to never forget the tragedies of 9/11? It teaches us the human capacity for recovery is deeper than we think. It teaches that uncertainty and fear may always loom, but shall not dominate. It teaches us that time and healing only move forward, and so we forge ahead.
To all those who know someone who lost their life that tragic day, my condolences. To all those who ran into the towers and beyond to help others, you are true heroes. To all those who went through painful recovery and worked tirelessly to rebuild NYC, you have my utmost admiration.
Quote of the Week
Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September 11. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and the ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children. — President George W. Bush