Thursday, September 11, 2014

We Need to Remember, Not Relive

Image from Project 2,996
I wasn’t anywhere near New York City or Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001. In fact, I was in Snohomish County, Washington State, the morning of the great tragedy. When I woke up, Mr. Wright had the news on.

The south tower had just collapsed and, as I watched, speechless, the north tower began to fall. When I finally found my voice, all I could say was, “Why? Why is this happening?” I desperately wanted to believe it was all a hideous dream, and that I would wake up soon.

My friend, Jewel Cripe, was working in Washington, D.C. that day at Courtesy Associates, a meeting planning firm on 20th and L, eight blocks from the White House. As she walked into work late with a co-worker, her colleagues were in a stir, saying the area was being evacuated. Jewel was quickly briefed on the crashes at the World Trade Center, and informed that more flights had been hijacked, believed to be headed for the White House.

Minutes later, American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon.

It was two miles to Jewel’s home. Traffic was gridlocked, no taxis were available, and the lines at the Metro backed up for blocks. She began walking.

On the way, she called her brother, who lived and worked in New York City. She was able to confirm he was on the Brooklyn Bridge, trying to get home, though he had friends in the World Trade Center. She called her parents to let them know she was safe.

When Jewel arrived home, she watched events unfold on television. She again called her brother, who was home with his then-fiancée. They were both tuned in, hoping for news about their friends in the World Trade Center.

For days, and even months, D.C. remained on high alert. The tours of school children from across the country halted.

In fact, it was a year before Jewel heard a child laugh on the Metro. At the time, she thought, “Aha—that’s what’s been missing… Laughter.” It was a sign that time had passed, and parents had eased their anxiety enough to allow their children to see the city.

Today, Jewel says, “We need to remember, but not relive; be prepared, but not fearful. We need to pray for peace, no matter our religion—whether for world peace, or peace in our own hearts.

We never know who we’re meeting, or who is next to us… and we don’t know how the peace in our own heart, or the joy we give others, can affect their history, or their community’s history.”

I agree.

That’s why Project 2,996 is so important to me. By writing a tribute to a victim of 9/11, we remember, but not relive.

Fellow bloggers, there is still time to join in, and remember a life—not a death—by writing a tribute post. Go to Project 2,996’s website, select a name, and remember.

Never forget.

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