I am grateful that everyone is taking the time to remember this day to honor the sacrifice made on this day. On the anniversary of this day, our communities come together to share the story of where they were when they heard or saw the towers collapsed. Its how we heal. Its how we give ourselves permission to grow.
With that said… this is the first year I have not shared where I was or what I was doing. Suffice it to say that I was serving as a Marine at the time and then as a Police Officer afterwards. That is not what this post is about.
To get straight to the point… 12 years later… It is a great disservice to only remember our first responders this one day.
How many stories did you hear about a visit to a police station or fire department. Tours throughout the year are not what I mean. What I mean is… What have you done for your first responder lately?
There are things we can do on a more regular basis… and it starts with our behavior towards them. I appreciate every citizen who came up to me and shook my hand when I patrolled the streets or was out on call. Put all the Thank yous and hands I shook on one side of the scale and all the scowls, angry remarks, and long shifts on the other side of the scale… I tell you that they respond from a place deep within them. It makes up who they are. It is the reason they get up at odd hours and knock on doors or enter buildings you don’t want to enter. That night those first responders and many others, believed the world was coming to an end… they choose to not let that fear stop them.
12 years later and I find the best way I can honor those who serve us is to share stories of heroes. I share stories of overcoming fear. I refuse to live in fear. Fear fills us with doubt and robs us of the ability to act. Fear blocks inspiration. That doesn’t mean I am not scared. My heart goes pitter-patter at all the right moments, trust me.
Going forward if you want to influence your kids on the gravity of the day, you don’t have to rehearse the stories of this one particular incident. Instead, show them and give them opportunities to be a part of their community! Show your kids how you overcome fear! Give them permission to live courageously, through your example. If you think your a bad example, then its your responsibility to surround them in an environment that encourages them to live courageously. That… is a priceless gift and one our country needs more of. Communities who choose to live forward by overcoming fear, together.
If the conversation comes up, do I avoid it?
In my home I don’t hide anything. If they see I’m worried and ask I tell them why. I never want them to be afraid of the truth. They are aware of 9/11, probably my oldest more so than the younger ones. Probably in the context of history as in the Holocaust or Vietnam or the internment of the Japanese Americans…
So what does that mean? Do they fail to understand what Patriotism is?
In my home, I would rather focus my time and energy in nurturing the characteristics or values they need to act if ever they were in that situation. I have to remember the heroes did not have the previous experience of 9/11 to inspire them to act in the face of peril and devastation.
Of all the pictures I saw this year, this is the picture that inspired me to write this post. My friend Abina E., proudly serving and sharing memories today with her community. She is a joy and an inspiration!
My hope is that in 12 years from now, we will not only share the stories of where we were that day… rather that we would share stories of what how we helped our first responders since then… what we did in our communities… what we did to come together.