Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sept 11 Lessons

Do you remember where you were on Sept. 11, 2001?

I do.

People talk about remembering where they were on certain days - when Kennedy died, when Reagan's assassination attempt took place, when the Challenger and later, the Columbia shuttle, exploded.

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I was in my first week as a new reporter for The Lawrence County Record - a small, but vibrant community newspaper in Mt. Vernon, Mo.

I'm not sure if it was my mom's phone call, or another persons' but in the midst of trying to get the weekly newspaper out (it was deadline day), we turned the TV on in the newsroom - in time to watch the plane hit the second tower, and later, see the damage at the pentagon.

We immediately mobilized - I think part of my day was spent trying to find local connections to NY and DC. (We did - for a small town, Mt. Vernon had an amazing global reach.)

We moved to cover the growing gas lines, the fears that the banks were going to shut down (because people were withdrawing lots of cash) and the ministerial association's emergency prayer gathering.

Somehow, we all pulled together to produce a newspaper - much different than we envisioned when we started the day, but one that began to reflect how the national story impacted a smaller community.

Unity seemed to be the lesson we learned that day. Everyone pulled together to share information, to share concern for others, and well, to simply be together as a community.

Fast forward to today. As I write this, it's the eve of the ninth anniversary of Sept. 11. The world seems to be so divided, polarized by faith, hate and anger.

We seem to be the complete opposite of Sept. 12, 2001 - absolutely not unified as a nation, let alone, as communities..

Between the actions of one, rogue pastor in Florida, and others in New York, it's almost as if we are laying the kindling down for a huge, bonfire - that could ignite into something that could lead to, dare I say, war.

What happened to the unity we felt, as we learned how members of United Flight 93 pulled together to stop hijackers from taking over the plane?

What happened to the unity we projected as a nation - as people came together despite religion or politics, to morn the losses in NY and DC?

What happened?

Maybe I'm a "Pollyanna" at heart. Maybe I think the world is inherently good. But I think we've all lost focus - and it's like we're looking at the world through dirty glasses.

We're missing the point of Sept. 11.  We should remember those who lost their lives on the day. We should unite to together and celebrate our commonalities, rather than our differences.

We need to remember that not all Christians burn the Koran and not all Muslims are terrorists.

Maybe then the world will be a little less hateful, and a bit more united.

Something to think about.....
September 11: A Day for Prayer and Peace (Statement from UM Council of Bishops)

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