The reason I cannot forget is not only because of the numbers of people we lost on that terrible day, or even because of the way in which we lost them. In my head it isn't the knowledge of who was President during that time or the nature of his response to the event, which makes me remember. The reason I will never forget that day is due to one small, yet very powerful word...HATE. There have been so many instances of pure hatred that stick in my mind, though before 2001 I had only read about them in history books and learned about them through documentaries on TV. All of these events, including 9/11, still bring me to tears...each and every last one of them. For though I know hatred exists, to see it and be reminded of its sick presence tightens my chest and makes it hard to breathe...I find it confusing that any one person or group of people could hold onto such strong negativity and darkness, and aim it at another--under the guise of religious beliefs or the color of someone's skin. For I truly think it is a disguise, to cover hatred with the flimsy blankets of race, color or creed. Evil is what it is, and sadly I think it will always remain in the world if we continue to feed it and nurture it...and the ways we justify our actions and our hate, to ourselves and others, are just excuses.
When I think about all of those people, almost 3000 Americans who lost their lives that day, I struggle with the realization that we have so far to go in this world to achieve peace...and peace for everyone, without exclusion! I don't know if we will ever reach that level of peace, where we will gauge our time on this earth by the positive events that occur...not the negative ones that only serve to harm. I fear that we are only able to see a world like this as existing on another plane...such as in Heaven, if that is your belief, or a Utopia which we hope to one day reach. I worry that if we can't see such peace as possible in this world, we will continue to allow hate into our hearts against others...our differences will remain a source of tension instead of being accepted and celebrated. I still strive to understand the people and groups who have been responsible for the tragedies we have endured in the past, and I mostly fall short. I struggle to forgive the people who have been taught this kind of hate, and seem to embrace it...for I believe that we will only reach the peace we hope for through love and forgiveness. I try to learn from our mistakes, as a whole...and hope that in the end I have managed to do the best with the time I've been given.
There are many well known figures in history who stand out for the good works they have done, and their ability to live their lives with grace, pride and dignity. As I remember those who have fallen in the tragedy of September 11, 2001, I will remember the many who displayed those qualities, and gave their lives in the attempt to save others. The selflessness and strength of these people will never be forgotten, and we should try our best to learn from their example. I am reminded of another person who lived in such a way, preaching love and forgiveness throughout her life; Mother Theresa. As you honor those whom you have lost and struggle to understand why, may her words be a source of comfort...and may we all strive to one day live up to them.
May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.