I would just ask that everyone, if you haven’t already, take a moment to remember those who lost their lives on 9/11/2001. We all lost something on that day, whether it was our children losing some of their innocence, or the loss of our sense of security. I’m sure we all have memories of where we were or what we were doing when we saw, or heard the news. The one thing I remember is that in the immediate aftermath of that tragic event, the country was united. Fast forward fifteen years later, and I can’t find much evidence that the same is true now.
Remember we have more that unites us than divides us.
For the country to unite, we need people whose hearts and minds are open to a real conversation—not shouting at each other, or past each other with our heels dug in. When we move forward, when we make progress, we listen to each other and learn from each other. That cannot happen if no one is willing to listen to what the other side is saying. If you use social media as a barometer, that is not happening there, with piping hot takes trying to sound cute and smart, or mean and unforgiving of the other side’s position.
Remember, conversation is a two-way street. There can’t be one if no one listens to what the other side is saying.
But back to 9/11/2001. Fifteen years ago, I was at work when the tragic events of that began. Our work day started at 8:30, and I managed to sneak a peek at the news online. It was there that I found out that something was wrong—the office didn’t have any television or radio. Eventually, someone brought in a television to try and pick up one of the broadcast stations over the air, since the office building wasn’t wired for cable. We were able to catch bits and pieces of the news, but we could figure out that something was very, very wrong. After a couple of hours, we heard that schools were closing, and our office closed as well. It was just as well; no one felt like doing any work anyway. I left the office and went to the elementary school to pick up my niece and nephew after they were dismissed.
I remember being sad for my niece and nephew, as well as my girlfriend’s daughters. They would be growing up in a world that wouldn’t seem as secure and safe as the one I grew up in. But, together we united and things for a time seemed better among the citizens of the USA. We made heroes of first responders and the military. Unfortunately, those good feelings didn’t last, and so here we are. Seemingly more divided than at any time that I can remember.
My hope is that we remember the things I stated above—that there is more that unites us than divides us, and that any conversation requires each side to listen to what the other is saying in regards to issues where there is disagreement. Things can’t get better unless those two things are in the forefront of the minds of those who want real change to occur.