I was in 9th grade in my 2nd period geometry class, and on any other day, I would have been thrilled to have an interruption to give me an excuse from doing anything math related. But this…this struck me to my core. Little 14 year-old me, my eyes filled with tears and my heart filled with terror, watched those horrific moments on the classroom television.
Just across town, my husband, with hopes and aspirations to join the Marine Corps upon graduation, knew what he was seeing at that moment was the beginning of a war in which he would have to fight just three years later.
Last year, as I stood in front of my class of 10th graders to take a moment and talk about what this day means to so many Americans, my students confessed that they didn’t even remember it. They were only 3 years-old when it happened. And it hit me. 9/11 will one day only be remembered because of what people read about in history books.
But what no history book could ever capture is the love that bound us together in those moments of the aftermath. The lives of those lost were senseless and tragic, and the hatred that caused this sort of destruction is unfathomable. (How could anyone hate another group of people so much?)
But the love. The love in this nation was just as baffling, and it made me realize the blessings from the despair, the light from the darkness, the life from the ashes. It was all-consuming. Strangers helped strangers. Anyone and everyone of different races, of different viewpoints, of different religions and political agendas joined hands and hearts and proved that love can always overcome hatred. And, today, I pray for that love of that magnitude to still be present in our nation.
You can let your life be filled with darkness, be consumed by the hate, and spread it to others because you’ve received it yourself. Or you can greet every day with the simple love of the human spirit. And be that light that everyone needs.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” -John 1:5