Dear Victims and Heroes of September 11, 2001:
I am sure America is going to be heavy on sentiment and sorrow this day, ten years later. I write this letter to you from my heart and I speak for only my self. I suspect, though, that there are some who may share a sentiment or two of mine.
First, I want you to know that I think of you. Often. When I say “you” I mean you as an individual, who make up a band of Lost and Stolen from us Americans. All of “you” who were personally and directly affected. Emotions will always be strong, from most of us, in remembering you and what you went through. I can’t pretend to know the pain and anguish you and those who loved you intimately went through. If what I feel as an American, who did not know you personally, is any indication of what you and yours suffered-I can’t imagine. I can not possibly. I’m sorry for your pain. Your loss. The personal loss your own world suffered. I’m so very sorry.
Anniversaries are times for us to remember and I know we, collectively and independently, will remember you. But I guess maybe we could do some things differently to honor you. To remember you.
As an American maybe I could do a few things differently. As an American, I am certain you would sure like that opportunity. And I’m sure your loved ones wish you were here. Many of you acted heroically that day. You did it as a choice, you did it for a living, as a calling. Or you were in a place that did not give you an option. You had no choice.
As an American I still have a choice. And I should do better.
Maybe the first thing Americans could do to honor you is to stop hating one another.
I try very hard not to hate. Yet, shamefully, when I get angry it is often at someone instead of regarding an action.
Yeah, sadly we don’t seem to get it. I don’t have to fully explain it. I, as an American, know my own failings. I know when we can’t work together to do what is right for our country. I know when we choose our own individual needs over what is best for our country and our fellow man. I know when we expect our country to take care of us, without us pitching in to do for ourselves… I know. I do blame. I do expect. I do fail your sacrifice and victimization when I demand more. I suspect I am not the only one who fails you, when I fail.
Maybe instead of honoring you on special days, I could honor you every day. By appreciating America and the opportunities I have. We all have different ideas and opinions on how it is best to live in America, and how it is best to run America. Yet with all of the brilliance and the opinions we still seem to be flailing about. Maybe to honor you every day we need to remember the core values of our country. Go back to our basics. Work hard. Pray hard. Put family, country and God above all else. Maybe if my/our every day included a little less “gimme” and a little more “let me” we could get back to the way our country became so great to begin with.
Our country is great. Full of great people. We’ll get it. Don’t give up on us. We might still be in shock. Some of us are likely to be in denial about what they can do for America. But if we could get everyone to look at maybe a snapshot, a smaller picture of America, their own America they might see. Helping out locally to make each neighborhood the best it could be. Pick up the trash? Yeah, it would make a difference. That kind of small action is a step in the right direction. Kind of symbolic too. Put pride in to our homes, our neighborhoods. Put energy in to raising our children. And maybe helping someone else with their children if the need is there. Live every day doing a little something, for someone else, in your own neighborhood. Your own school. Your own place of employment. Put a helping hand out to someone else. Put in a good day’s work. Pay our own bills.
And when every September 11th dawn breaks-make a new commitment to not squander another moment.
I need to commit to wake up to this morning-full of chance and opportunity-that you no longer have.
That you and your family would like to have. One more morning. To grab a cup of coffee on your way to work when you would rather be home sleeping. One more evening to eat dinner with your kids, read them a story, kiss them good night and put them to bed. One more moment to tell your parent, your spouse, your child, your friends that you love them and they were the world to you.
My apologies to you for every moment I squander. I wish I could gather them, and give them to you.
My apologies for failing my country, when you would gladly trade places with me to do everything you could to make it better.
My apologies to you for not appreciating the America you died for.
I need to recommit to you, to my family, to God, to America.
From here on I do not want to live on apologies to you. I want to recognize you and what you lost, what your families lost. And be part of something that honors you with dignity and respect.
It’s the least I can do.
God bless you and all you loved.
You are not forgotten.